6 Austin restaurants up for a James Beard Award

We always knew Austin’s food scene was special.

A birds-eye view of a dish at La Condesa.

La Condesa is nominated for “Outstanding Restaurant” in the James Beard Awards.

Photo by @markyatx

🚨 Warning: Do not read this article hungry. 🚨

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Austin restaurants are putting on a strong showing for this year’s James Beard Awards. No less than six local stars were named semifinalists in the contest, which are kind of like the Oscars of the culinary world.

Austinites are coming in hot again this year, after having two James Beard finalists in 2022. Nixta Taqueria’s Edgar Rico was nominated for Emerging Chef and El Naranjo’s Iliana de la Vega was nominated for Best Chef: Texas — both won. 🏆

Without further ado, here’s a breakdown of this year’s local semifinalists:

Outstanding Restaurant

  • La Condesa | This downtown contemporary Mexican restaurant is one of just two Texas spots nominated in this category, and partners with local farmers and ranchers for ingredients.

Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker

  • Mariela Camacho of Comadre Panadería | Comadre aims to “nourish the Latinx diaspora” with its high-quality pan, cakes, and pastries.

Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program

  • Suerte | The East Austin Mexican restaurant offers an expansive and conscientiously selected offering of mezcal, tequila, sotol, lechuguilla, raicilla, and bacanora.
A close-up of a dish at Canje

Chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph’s modern Caribbean cuisine earned him a nomination for “Best Chef: Texas.”

Photo by Iris Tate, @irisasmrxo

Best Chef: Texas

  • Tavel-Bristol-Joseph of Canje | This Caribbean restaurant made waves when it opened on the east side in 2021, and for good reason: Bristol-Joseph’s modern take on traditional dishes has racked up numerous national accolades.
  • Damien Brockway of Distant Relatives | After opening in 2020, Brockway’s barbecue inspired by elements of the African diaspora in the US quickly became a must-visit for Texas barbecue lovers.
  • Kareem El-Ghayesh of KG BBQ | Chef “KG” left a career in corporate finance to craft his signature barbecue fusion of Egyptian, Middle Eastern, and Texan flavors.

The James Beard Foundation will announce the finalists on Wednesday, March 29, and celebrate the winners in a gala on Monday, June 5.

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