March 2, 2014

Three Austin chefs are James Beard Award semifinalistsThree Austin chefs have been nominated as James Beard award semifinalists. The award honors outstanding achievement in the foodservice industry with an annual gala in New York City. The winners won’t be announced until early May, but Austin residents can fill that time by trying out some of the nominees’ cooking. Philip Speer of Uchi is a semifinalist for the category of Outstanding Pastry Chef, while Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine and David Bull of Congress/La Corsha Hospitality Group are both semifinalists in the Best Chef: Southwest category. All three of the semifinalists have been nominated before.

Austin elite
Speer, a Houston native, has gotten many accolades for the desserts he has created for contemporary Japanese restaurant Uchi. He has been featured in publications both local and national, such as the Austin Chronicle and Bon Appetit as well as on television programs such as Iron Chef America and Throwdown with Bobby Flay. This is his third consecutive year being nominated in this category.

Chef/owner Bryce Gilmore opened his restaurant Barley Swine in 2010 to great acclaim. Since then, it has been featured in magazines such as Austin Monthly, GQ?, and Food & Wine. Barley Swine’s menu features unique ingredients and applications such as hay mousse and whey panna cotta to create quite a memorable experience.

At Congress, executive chef David Bull offers up a prix fixe menu of three or seven courses nightly. He began his career in Dallas at the Mansion on Turtle Creek, where he became the hotel’s youngest ever sous chef. After moving to Austin, Bull became the executive chef at Driskill Grill, where he was highlighted by USA Today.

The James Beard Awards
The annual James Beard Awards highlight the very best in the American culinary world. The James Beard Foundation awards talent in every aspect of the industry, from restaurant designers and chefs to cookbook authors and food journalists. The awards gala is held every year in the spring with this year’s awards happening on May 2 and 5 at the Lincoln Center in New York City. The award is named for James Beard, a celebrated American cookbook author and teacher who worked hard during his life to foster the growing American culinary scene by mentoring young chefs. The foundation awards a certificate and medallion but the winners do not receive a cash prize.