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James Beard Foundation Names 10 Houston Area Chefs Among Semifinalists

Chefs of Houston favorites like Phat Eatery, Lucille’s, Blood Bros. BBQ, and Himalaya are among the nominees

Lucille’s chef Chris Williams fileting a fish.
The James Beard Foundation nominated Lucille’s executive chef Chris Williams for the Outstanding Restaurateur category.
Antonio Diaz

The James Beard Foundation, a national non-profit culinary arts organization, has announced the semifinalists for its annual restaurant and chef awards, and Texas had a big showing, with a total of 13 nominees from the Houston area alone.

Among the national categories, Lucille’s executive chef Chris Williams — also the founder of Lucille’s Hospitality group — was nominated for the Outstanding Restaurateur category — making him the only Houston contender. Ruben Ortega, of Downtown’s Oaxaca establishment Xochi, was nominated as the only Houston semifinalist for the Outstanding Pastry Chef award.

For the best chef: Texas category, seven local chefs were nominated, including Alex Au-Yeung of Phat Eatery; Bludorn chef Aaron Bludorn; Sylvia Casares of Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen; Christine Ha and Tony J. Nguyen of Vietnamese restaurant Xin Chào; pitmaster Quy Hoang of Bellaire’s Blood Bros. BBQ; Himalaya Restaurant’s head chef Kaiser Lashkari; and Felipe Riccio of Midtown’s reservation-only March.

The Houston area’s other major national nominations include:

  • San Leon’s Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House for Best New Restaurant.
  • Montrose’s Mexican restaurant Hugo’s in Houston was nominated for Outstanding Hospitality.
  • Cocktail bar Julep, directed by bartender Alba Huerta, was nominated for the Outstanding Bar Program.

Considered the Oscars of the culinary world, the awards return after a two-year hiatus during the pandemic. Finalists will be announced on March 16 in Scottsdale, Arizona, with a ceremony for the winners held on June 13 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The James Beard media awards will be released on April 27 in New York.

Xin Chao

2310 Decatur Street, , TX 77007 (832) 740-4888 Visit Website

Phat Eatery

23119 Colonial Parkway, , TX 77449 (832) 412-2927 Visit Website


1600 Westheimer Road, , TX 77006 (713) 524-7744 Visit Website

Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen

1140 N Eldridge Pkwy, Houston, TX 77077 (832) 230-3842 Visit Website


1777 Walker St Ste A, Houston, TX 77010 (713) 521-2239 Visit Website

Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House

113 6th Street, , TX 77539 (281) 339-1515 Visit Website

Blood Bros. BBQ

5425 Bellaire Boulevard, , TX 77401 (713) 664-7776 Visit Website

Himalaya Restaurant

6652 Southwest Freeway, , TX 77074 (713) 532-2837 Visit Website


5512 La Branch Street, , TX 77004 (713) 568-2505 Visit Website


1919 Washington Avenue, , TX 77007 (832) 371-7715 Visit Website

March Restaurant

1624 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006


807 Taft Street, , TX 77019 (713) 999-0146 Visit Website