On May 5 at the Koch Theater in New York City, Food Network star Ted Allen presided over a black-tie-clad crowd of chefs, bartenders, food writers, and culinary superstars to announce the winners of the 2014 James Beard Awards for excellence in cuisine, culinary writing, and education in the United States.
We’re especially proud of the outstanding Texas winners, Lisa and Tom Perini and their Perini Ranch Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap, which won the 2014 America’s Classic award; Chef Chris Shepherd of Houston’s restaurant Underbelly, who took the prize for Best Chef of the Southwest; and Dallas chef and cookbook author Tim Byres, whose book Smoke: New Firewood Cooking won a prize in the General Cooking category. A third Texan, Lisa Fain, who lives in New York now, won a James Beard journalism award for her blog, The Homesick Texan.
We’d also like to congratulate the Texans who didn’t win this time: Houston Chronicle writer Alison Cook, who competed in the journalism category; and three (count ‘em, three!) Houston and Austin chefs who vied for the Best Chef of the Southwest category—Hugo Ortega of the Houston restaurant Hugo’s, Bryce Gilmore of Austin’s Barley Swine, and Justin Yu of Houston’s Oxheart.
The fact that four out of five contenders for the “Best Chef of the Southwest” category hailed from Texas is particularly impressive when you know that chefs from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Utah were in the running, as well—proof positive that the Texas food scene is in the national spotlight.
Congratulations to all.