It’s been a good week for Steve McHugh of Cured at Pearl.
The chef won Sunday’s Paella Challenge. Then on Tuesday, he was named a finalist for this year’s James Beard Foundation Award for best chef in the Southwest, an area that includes Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Utah in addition to Texas.
McHugh is up against several other Texans, including Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine in Austin as well as Hugo Ortega of Caracol and Justin Yu of Oxheart, both in Houston. The other finalist is Alex Seidel, Fruition of Denver.
McHugh is only the third chef from San Antonio to be a finalist for the award. Bruce Auden of Biga on the Banks and Andrew Weissman for his former restaurant, Le Reve, have also been nominated.
There was another Texan on the list of nominees. Grae Nonas of Olamaie in Austin was a finalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year, an award given to “a chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.”
The other Rising Star nominees are Alex Bois, High Street on Market, Philadelphia; Angela Dimayuga, Mission Chinese Food, NYC; Matt Rudofker, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, NYC; Daniela Soto-Innes, Cosme, NYC and Jenner Tomaska, Next, Chicago.
The awards will be presented in New York on May 2. Tickets are available at www.jamesbeard.org/awards/tickets.