Awards Season

James Beard Award Semifinalists Announced; Chris Shepherd, Ninfa's in Running for Major Awards

Indigo chef Jonny Rhodes is among the contenders for Rising Star Chef of the Year.

By Timothy Malcolm February 27, 2019

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.

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