The James Beard Foundation handed out its annual awards earlier this week, and, no, a San Antonio chef was not named best in the Southwest.
Bruce Auden, chef/owner of Biga on the Banks and one of the chefs who helped popularize Southwestern cuisine, was nominated for the sixth time. But the award was actually split between Tyson Cole of Uchi in Austin and Saipin Chutima from Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas. (Perhaps the voters read the category wrong and voted for best chef of Southwest Asian cuisine?)
Cole wasn’t the only Texan to pick up an award. Robb Walsh of Houston shared an award with Rick Bragg and Francine Maroukian for best Food Culture and Travel piece. They co-authored “The Southerner’s Guide to Oysters” for Garden & Gun, a publication that describes itself as being “a Southern lifestyle magazine that’s all about the magic of the new South.”
In other Beard Award news, the cookbook of the year was “Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy” by Diana Kennedy, who is either the most loved or most reviled cookbook author to deal with Mexican food. (For some of the latter, read what Walsh has to say about her in his “The Tex-Mex Cookbook.”)
Publication of the year was Edible Communities, which produces Edible Austin among other regional magazines.
The Beard Awards are the culinary equivalent of the Oscars. For a full list of the winners, click here.