Congratulations to the seven San Antonio culinary powerhouses who were named as semifinalists in the 2022 James Beard Chef and Restaurant Awards.
The semifinalists include Mixtli for Outstanding Restaurant, Mixtli’s Sofía Tejeda for Outstanding Pastry Chef, La Panadería’s David Cáceres for Outstanding Baker, High Street Wine Co. for Outstanding Wine Program and Steve McHugh (Cured), Esaul Ramos Jr. (2M Smokehouse) and John Russ (Clementine) for Best Chef: Texas.
Ernest Servantes and David Kirkland, of Burnt Bean Co. in nearby Seguin, also were nominated as semifinalists for Best Chef: Texas. The category also includes a chef from Lubbock and several chefs from Austin and the Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth areas.
McHugh and Ramos were both named semifinalists in 2020.
McHugh, who opened Cured at Pearl in 2013, was named a finalist in 2020. This is his sixth nomination as a semifinalist. At cured, McHugh cures all of his meats in-house and focuses on fresh ingredients. He also now helms the kitchen at Landrace at the Thompson San Antonio. Read more about him here.
Ramos learned the pitmaster trade while working in Austin at places like La Barbecue and has made a name for himself in San Antonio at 2M Smokehouse, which opened in 2016 and has a loyal following of customers who line up for his well-seasoned brisket, housemade sausage and delicious sides.
Mixtli first debuted in a train car in Olmos Park in 2013, where chefs Diego Galicia and Rico Torres served a set multi-course meal to 12 diners each night. After numerous accolades and demand for more seating, the duo moved to a larger space in Southtown last summer where their skill continues to shine. Read more about them and pastry chef Sofia Tejeda here.
John Russ and his wife/pasty chef Elise Russ opened Clementine in Castle Hills in early 2018 and have been collecting loyal patrons ever since. John Russ is a New Orleans native. He studied at Delgado Culinary in the Crescent City and moved to San Antonio to work at Lüke downtown after honing his skills at fine dining restaurants in his hometown.
High Street Wine Co. opened at Pearl in 2016 and has mastered the art of offering a carefully curated selection of wines. It’s not just for wine snobs, though. Its staff shares their recommendations in an approachable way and also offers classes for those wanting to learn more.
David Cáceres first shared his pastries with San Antonio through a booth at the now-defunct Quarry Farmers Market. His almond tequila croissants were an immediate hit and he and his brother Jose have since expanded into three popular La Panaderias. Learn more about him here.
San Antonio has had several semifinalists and finalists in the James Beard Awards over the years but has yet to snag a top prize. This year’s winners will be announced on June 13 in a ceremony in Chicago.