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Best Chef in Southwest Asia Perhaps?


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.

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Bruce Auden Earns Another James Beard Nomination


Bruce Auden

Bruce Auden of Biga on the Banks, 203 S. St. Mary’s St., is among the five finalists for best chef in the Southwest, according to the James Beard Foundation.

Auden has been nominated several times in the past for the award, which is the culinary field’s equivalent of the Oscars.

Auden is up against several Texas competitors, including Bryan Caswell of Reef in Houston and Tyson Cole of Uchi in Austin. Saipin Chutima of Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas and Ryan Hardy of Montagna at the Little Nell in Aspen, Colo., are the other nominees.

Another Texan to make the list is Robb Walsh of Houston, who is nominated in the journalism division for Food Culture and Travel writing. He shares the nomination with Rick Bragg and Francine Maroukian for a piece in Garden & Sun titled “The Southerner’s Guide to Oysters.” They are up against Bill Addison for a piece in Atlanta Magazine on “BBQ 2010” and Matt Gross for an article in Saveur on “Tapei, Family Style.”

The journalism awards will be announced May 6. The restaurant awards will be announced May 9. For the full list of nominees, click here.

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