by Steven Doyle
The James Beard Semi-Finalist list reared its head today. The idea is if James Beard sees his shadow we enjoy a year of fine dining and a swillingly charming wine list. Or so it would seem based on the most recent semi-finalist list.
Dallas took a tough hit this year. Stephan Pyles generally makes an appearance, only to be a bridesmaid. With his fairly new Flora Street and it’s superior menu he should come out on top. John Tesar is whipping into submission some of the finest beef in the Americas yet went unnoticed by James Beard.
Bruno Davaillon (Bullion), Matt McCallister (FT33), Teiichi Sakurai (Tei-An), Dean Fearing (Fearing’s), Julian Barsotti (Nonna, Sprezza), Michael Ehlert (French Room), Stephen Rogers (Gemma, Sachet) are capable of wearing the Beard medallion. All snubbed.
We did have one semi-finalist in Dallas for Best Chef of Southwest, Regino Rojas at Revolver Taco Lounge. To this end we are pumped with Dallas pride, and not taking away from this victory. Terrific things are happening at Revolver and in great company with the likes of Kevin Fink of Emmer & Rye in Austin, Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine in Austin, Steve McHugh of Cured in San Antonio, to name a small handful of the eight nominated in Texas for the position. This also includes Pitmaster Norma Frances “Tootsie” Tomanetz of Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, Texas.
Not chewing on sour grapes, but Dallas is a large supporter of the James Beard House, with chefs volunteering for the honor of cooking in the smallish kitchen, at their own expense, to support the effort. Perhaps what is needed is a public relations effort towards the award.
We are pleased with the new request for those who nominate. These people have been asked to look for “the values of respect, transparency,diversity, sustainability, and equality” following a cue from other awards such as the Oscar’s. This in light of the controversy that swept the nation in recent months with bizarre sexual harassment stories, and a bold attempt to shatter glass ceilings. This is a positive upbeat.
Congratulations to all semi-finalists.