Chris Shepherd has an opportunity to be named Outstanding Chef at this year's James Beard Awards.

When the James Beard Foundation announces the finalists for its 2019 Restaurant and Chef Awards on March 27 in Houston, more than a few culinary giants in the city will be sweating it out. The semifinalists for the awards were announced Wednesday, and Houston made the cut. 

Chris Shepherd, for his work at the new Georgia James, has been named one of 20 semifinalists for Outstanding Chef, while The Original Ninfa's on Navigation, is among the 20 semifinalists for Outstanding Restaurant.

Also, Anvil Bar & Refuge is a semifinalist for Outstanding Bar Program, and Traci Vaught and the H Town Restaurant Group (Caracol, Hugo's, Xochi, Backstreet Café) is among those up for Outstanding Restaurateur. Hugo's is also a semifinalist for Outstanding Service, as is Tony's.

Meanwhile, Jonny Rhodes of Indigo is up for Rising Star Chef of the Year. And Pappas Bros. Steakhouse at the Galleria is up for Outstanding Wine Program.

As for Best Chef Southwest, Houston representatives include Ronnie Killen of Killen's Steakhouse, Kaiser Lashkari of Himalaya, and Trong Nguyen of Crawfish & Noodles. Killen and Nguyen have been nominated before, but they have yet to win.

Check out the full list of semifinalists here.

Show Comments
In this Article

Editor’s Pick

Anvil Bar & Refuge

Cocktails 1424 Westheimer Rd

The bar that started the cocktail boom in Houston, Anvil is still the standard by which all other Houston cocktail joints are judged, slinging expertly made ...

Editor’s Pick

Crawfish & Noodles

$$ Cajun, Seafood, Vietnamese 11360 Bellaire Blvd., Ste 990

The mudbugs at Crawfish & Noodles are served one way—with plenty of garlic and butter. The seasoning range may be limited, but the restaurant compensates...

Editor’s Pick

Himalaya

$ Indian, Pakistani 6652 Southwest Fwy.

Kaiser Lashkari might be the most famous restaurateur in Little India—for his garrulous personality, his signature office desk in the middle of the restauran...

Editor’s Pick

Killen’s Steakhouse

$$$$ Steak 6425 W. Broadway St.

For many Houstonians, the best steak in Houston isn’t found inside the Loop or even (gasp!) the Beltway; rather, it’s found about 30 minutes south of Houston...

Editor’s Pick

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

$$$$ Steak Multiple Locations

If there’s a Platonic ideal of a Houston steakhouse, Pappas Bros. may be it. At both locations, its dark, wood-paneled interior swarming with crisply dressed...

Indigo

$$$$ African, American/New American, Soul Food 517 Berry Road

Editor’s Pick

Tony’s

$$$$ Italian 3755 Richmond Ave.

Chef de cuisine Austin Waiter’s creative tasting menu, which changes often, wows with the type of dishes that should make the Michelin Guide take notice: a...

Editor’s Pick

Backstreet Café

$$$ American/New American 1103 S. Shepherd

One of the main attractions at Backstreet Café on Shepherd near West Gray— helmed by chef Ortega of Hugo’s, along with his wife, Tracy Vaught—is the patio se...

Xochi

$$$ Mexican/Tex-Mex 1777 Walker St.

This elegant eatery on the ground floor of the Downtown Marriott Marquis isn't your average hotel restaurant. It's Houston's first upscale Oaxacan restaurant...

Editor’s Pick

Hugo’s

$$$ Mexican/Tex-Mex 1600 Westheimer Rd.

Hugo’s chef/owner Hugo Ortega has been a finalist for the James Beard Award three times; no surprise, as his Montrose restaurant has been the city’s top choi...

Editor’s Pick

Caracol

$$$ Mexican/Tex-Mex 2200 Post Oak Blvd., Ste. 160

The cool crudos at Caracol, chef Hugo Ortega’s beguiling Galleria-area restaurant, may be the perfect antidote to the summer heat. Among the offerings: lime-...

Editor’s Pick

The Original Ninfa's on Navigation

$$ Mexican/Tex-Mex 2704 Navigation Blvd.

The matriarch of Tex-Mex in Houston is still going strong in its original home on Navigation, where Mama Ninfa Laurenzo started a 10-table restaurant in the ...

Georgia James

$$$ Steak 1100 Westheimer Rd.

Sitting inside chef Chris Shepherd's steakhouse—a spinoff of his first One Fifth concept that took over the space once occupied by Underbelly—it's easy to be...