It’s that time of year again when the James Beard Foundation (a.k.a the Oscars of the culinary world) announces the semifinalists for its Restaurant and Chef Awards and in 2019, and Houston didn’t disappoint. These semi-finalists will be whittled down to finalists on March 27 at a press conference held at Houston’s own Hugo’s in Montrose. The James Beard Awards are set for May 6 in Chicago.

Outstanding Bar Program

Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston

Outstanding Chef

Chris Shepherd, Georgia James, Houston. *Shepherd won Best Chef - Southwest in 2014.

Outstanding Restaurant

The Original Ninfa's on Navigation, Houston

Outstanding Restaurateur

Tracy Vaught, H Town Restaurant Group, Houston (Hugo’s, Caracol, Xochi, and others)

Outstanding Service

Hugo’s, Houston

Tony’s, Houston

Outstanding Wine Program

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse at the Galleria, Houston

Rising Star Chef of the Year

Jonathan “Jonny” Rhodes, Restaurant Indigo, Houston

Best Chef: Southwest

Ronnie Killen, Killen’s Steakhouse, Pearland, TX

Kaiser Lashkari, Himalaya, Houston

Trong Nguyen, Crawfish & Noodles, Houston