Houston Celebrates Multiple James Beard Award Nominations for 2014

Photo courtesy Oxheart
Justin Yu of Oxheart
For his part, Yu is excited about what multiple nominees mean for Houston's ever-growing and evolving food scene.

"I think it shows consistency in Houston, and the three chefs that were nominated are all from completely different restaurants, so it's amazing to see a population that can support so many different cuisines and chefs and styles of restaurants."

And for Oxheart, Yu's daring eatery, "It shows the guests are enjoying our maturity and growth and the things we're doing at the restaurant."

Ortega, who recently added coastal Mexican restaurant Caracol to his already impressive resumé, is traveling in Mexico, so he found out about his nomination a bit later than the rest of the Houston honorees. He was able to email us a statement about his nomination:

"¿Como pasó esto? It is such an honor to me to be nominated! I am so proud that several Houston chefs are semi-finalists this year, and, like always, they are going to be tough to beat if we make it to the finals. But I don't want to think much about that because I don't want to get too disappointed if I don't take home the prize. I hope all the Houston nominees get the chance to go to the awards event in May--wouldn't that be fun?!"

Photo courtesy James Beard Foundation
Ortega and his wife and business partner, Tracy Vaught, at least year's James Beard Awards.

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I think the James Beard Foundation has become a little too self-reverential (note the glowering medal that accompanies every story I've seen), but it's great to see our guys getting some credit that's well-deserved.

Fwiw, I thought it was funny that Speer from Uchi said he felt "overrated" getting the nomination, an allusion to Eric Sandler's recent attempt at criticism of Houston's most overrated restaurants of which Uchi was one. Come to think of it, Chris Shepherd's place also enjoyed inclusion on that list.

Congrats to all!

KaitlinS topcommenter

@Daisy  Philip Speer does have a wonderful sense of humor :)

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