The organization announced its pool of five finalists this morning via a live press conference in Philadelphia. For Best Chef Southwest (the region Texas is in), McHugh is joined by Austin's Michael Fojtasek (Olamaie), as well as Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine), Santa Fe's Martín Rios (Restaurant Martín) and Denver's Alex Seidel (Mercantile Dining & Provision).
The previous list of semifinalists was rich with Texan nominees out of Houston, Austin and even a two pitmasters (Norma Frances “Tootsie” Tomanetz of Snow's BBQ and Ronni Killen of Killen Steakhouse), and locally, first-time semifinalists Diego Galicia and Rico Torres of Mixtli. The pair earned a spot in Food & Wine's Best New Chefs list in 2017 and the boxcar fine dining eatery was named one of the 38 Essential Restaurants of Texas by Eater's Restaurant Editor, Bill Addison.
Results will be announced on Monday, May 7 at the James Beard Awards Gala in Chicago.
Visit jamesbeard.org for the full list of nominees.