Chef Maribel Rivero of Peruvian restaurant Yuyo in Austin is a semifinalist for "Best Chef: Southwest" in the 2019 James Beard Awards.

Chef Maribel Rivero of Peruvian restaurant Yuyo in Austin is a semifinalist for “Best Chef: Southwest” in the 2019 James Beard Awards.

The Texas food industry collectively garnered 27 semifinalist nominations in this year’s James Beard Foundation awards, solidifying the state’s stellar reputation as one of the best dining locales in the country.

The Beard Foundation, an organization that offers scholarships, events, and programs to people in the food and drink industry, announced the semifinalists last week for its annual awards ceremony, which takes place May 6 in Chicago.

Commonly known as the “Oscars of the food industry,” the prestigious awards are highly sought after by the country top restaurants, bars, and chefs. Among the 27 nominees in Texas, Houston led the pack with 13, while Austin garnered seven and Dallas had five.

Suerte, a modern Mexican restaurant in Austin, and Petra and the Beast, known for its seasonal farm fare in Dallas, were both nominated for the top honor of “Best Restaurant.” Chris Shepherd of Houston’s Georgia James was nominated for “Outstanding Chef,” and Jonny Rhodes of Houston’s Restaurant Indigo was nominated as “Rising Star Chef of the Year.” Maribel Rivera of Peruvian restaurant Yuyo and Kevin Fink of grain-focused Emmer & Rye (both are located in Austin) were among the long list of Texas-based nominees in the “Best Chef: Southwest” category, appearing alongside Ronnie Killen of Killen’s Steakhouse in Pearland and Steve McHugh of Cured in San Antonio. Longtime institutions like McPherson Cellars in Lubbock, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Houston, and Hugo’s in Houston were also recognized with nominations.

The list of finalists will be revealed at an event in Houston on March 27.

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