Hey, it's a better showing than last year.
Over video on Monday, the James Beard Foundation announced finalists for its 2020 awards. Houston scored decently in the restaurant and chef awards with one national finalist and two Best Chef: Texas finalists. They are:
- Outstanding Bar Program - Anvil Bar & Refuge
- Best Chef: Texas - Anita Jaisinghani - Pondicheri; Trong Nguyen - Crawfish & Noodles
The Bayou City had 14 restaurant and chef award semifinalists, including nods for The Blind Goat and Squable in the Best New Restaurant category, and Justin Yu (Theodore Rex) in the Outstanding Chef category. Three out of 14 isn't bad, though, right? I mean, we can't all be Chicago, New York, or Philadelphia.
Also, the Beard Foundation announced that for its media awards, chef Chris Shepherd and writer Kaitlyn Goalyn's cookbook Cook Like a Local: Flavors That Can Change How You Cook and See the World is a finalist in the Best American Cookbook category.
Last year, it wasn't over video that the James Beard Foundation announced finalists, but at Hugo's in Houston. There, the city was shocked to learn that nobody local scored a finalist nod. A few months after that event, the Beard Foundation reconfigured its regional awards so that Texas would have its own category (previously Texas chefs had to battle in the Best Chef: Southwest category).
The 2020 James Beard media awards are set for May 27, while the chef and restaurant awards will be Sept 25.