2012 James Beard Award: Best Chef in Southwest Goes to Paul Qui of Uchiko in Austin

The 18-year jinx continues. Minutes ago, Paul Qui of Uchiko in Austin  was named the Best Chef in Southwest by the James Beard Foundation. Qui beat out Bruno Davaillon of the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Bruce Auden of Biga on the Banks in San Antonio, Kevin Binkley at Binkley’s Restaurant in Cave Creek, Arizona, Jennifer Jasinski of Rioja in Denver, and Hugo Ortega of Hugo’s in Houston. Only two Dallas chefs have won this award: Stephan Pyles (Routh Street Café) in 1991, and Dean Fearing (The Mansion) in 1994. The only good news I have for locals is Tre Wilcox of Marquee Grill is the only Texan cooking at the gala.

UPDATE: I have posted the complete list of2012 James Beard Foundation Awards below.



NEW YORK, NY (May 8, 2012) – Winners were announced last night, Monday, May 7, 2012, at the annual 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards, the nation’s most prestigious recognition program honoring professionals in the food and beverage industries. During a ceremony hosted by chef and television personality Alton Brown at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, awards in the Restaurant and Chef and the Design and Graphics categories were presented, as well as a number of special achievement awards including Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America, America’s Classics, Lifetime Achievement, and Humanitarian of the Year. Winners of the Foundation’s annual Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards were presented on May 4, 2012, at the ceremony and dinner at Gotham Hall in New York City, co-hosted by celebrity chef Michael Symon and CBS News Correspondent Martha Teichner.  A complete list of all award winners can be found at the end of this release, as well as at jamesbeard.org.  

Highlights from this year’s list of winners include:

Outstanding Chef: Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park, NYC)

Outstanding Restaurant: Boulevard (San Francisco)

Rising Star Chef: Christina Tosi (Momofuku Milk Bar, NYC)

Best New Restaurant: Next (Chicago)

In addition, special achievement award honorees included:

Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America: Grant Achatz (Chef and Author, Chicago); Mark Bittman (Journalist and Author, NYC); Dana Cowin (Editor and Journalist, NYC); Emily Luchetti (Pastry Chef and Author, San Francisco); Marvin Shanken (Publisher, NYC)

America’s Classics: The Fry Bread House (Owner: Cecelia Miller, Phoenix); Nora’s Fish Creek Inn (Owners:  Nora Tygum, Trace Tygum, and Kathryn Tygum Taylor, Wilson, WY); St. Elmo Steak House (Owners: Stephen Huse and Craig Huse, Indianapolis); Jones Bar-B-Q Diner (Owners: James and Betty Jones, Marianna, AR); Shady Glen (Owners: William and Annette Hoch, Manchester, CT)

Lifetime Achievement Award: Wolfgang Puck (Chef and Restaurateur, Los Angeles)

Humanitarian of the Year: Charlie Trotter (Chef and Restaurateur, Chicago)

Industry leaders from across the country attended the highly anticipated festivities, which celebrated this year’s Awards theme of “25 Years of Food at its Best,” in tribute to the Foundation’s silver anniversary and mission that honors James Beard’s legacy by celebrating, nurturing, and preserving America’s diverse culinary heritage and future. In recognition of James Beard’s influence on our culinary world, the Foundation invited chefs who had the privilege of knowing James Beard personally, as well as those who have been influenced by his legacy, to prepare dishes inspired by recipes from his more than 20 cookbooks. At the Gala Reception immediately following the Awards Ceremony, guests enjoyed a dine-around gala prepared by these notable chefs, including many of this year’s winners and nominees, among them Gary Danko of Restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco, Paul Kahan of Blackbird in Chicago, and Emily Luchetti of Farallon in San Francisco.

The annual James Beard Foundation Awards honor the best and the brightest talents in the food and beverage industries, celebrating outstanding achievement in each of the following categories: Restaurant and Chef, Restaurant Design and Graphics, Books, Broadcast and New Media, and Journalism, as well as several special achievement awards. Each category has an individual Awards Committee made up of industry professionals who volunteer their time to oversee the policies, procedures, and selection of judges for their respective Awards program. All award winners receive a certificate and a medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia. There are no cash prizes.

Highlights from the Book, Broadcast and Journalism Awards announced on Friday, May 4, 2012, at the Awards dinner at Gotham Hall in New York City included:

Cookbook of the Year: Modernist Cuisine by Nathan Myhrvold with Chris Young and Maxime Bilet (The Cooking Lab)

Cookbook Hall of Fame: Laurie Colwin, Home Cooking and More Home Cooking

Publications of the Year: Food52, Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs and Darra Goldstein, Gastronomica

MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award: John T. Edge, Saveur “BBQ Nation”

Radio Show or Audio Webcast: Fear of Frying: Culinary Nightmares, Host: Nina Barrett, Area: WBEZ, Producer: Jason Marck

Television Program, In Studio or Fixed Location: Chopped, Host: Ted Allen and Judges, Network: Food Network, Producers: Linda Lea, Dave Noll, and Vivian Sorenson

Television Program, On Location: Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Host: Andrew Zimmern, Network: Travel Channel, Producer: Andrew Zimmern

Media Personality/Host: Ted Allen, Show: Chopped, Food Network

Food Coverage in a General Interest Publication: Lesley Bargar Suter, Los Angeles, “Chinese Food in L.A.,” “It’s Time for Breakfast in L.A.” “Food Lovers Guide”

Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review: Alan Richman, GQ, “The Very Tasty Liberation of Paris,” “I Heart SF,” “Diner for Schmucks”

Group Food Blog: The Salt: NPR’s Food Blog, Maria Godoy, npr.org/blogs/thesalt

Individual Food Blog: Poor Man’s Feast, Elissa Altman, Poormansfeast.com “Craving the Food of Depravity”

The 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards are presented with support by the following partners: Premier Sponsors: All-Clad Metalcrafters, Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate, Lenox Tableware and Gifts, Mercedes-Benz; Supporting Sponsors: Campari, The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, Jade Range LLC, Lavazza, Southern Wine & Spirits of New York, Stella Artois®, Urbanspoon; Gala Reception Sponsors: Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water, Ecolab, Pernod Ricard USA, Rums of Puerto Rico, S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water; and with additional support from Chefwear, St Giles Hotel New York, and Visa Signature®.

About the James Beard Foundation

Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation is dedicated to celebrating, preserving, and nurturing America’s culinary heritage and diversity in order to elevate the appreciation of our culinary excellence. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, James Beard, who died in 1985, was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. Today, the Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships to culinary schools, and publications, and by maintaining the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. For more information, please visit jamesbeard.org.  Find insights on food at the James Beard Foundation’s blog Delights & Prejudices. Join the James Beard Foundation on Facebook. Follow the James Beard Foundation on Twitter.

2012 James Beard Foundation Awards Winners

2012 James Beard Foundation Book Awards

Presented by Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate

For cookbooks published in English in 2011. Winners will be announced on May 4, 2012.

Cookbook of the Year

Modernist Cuisine
by Nathan Myhrvold with Chris Young and Maxime Bilet
(The Cooking Lab)

Cookbook Hall of Fame

Laurie Colwin

Home Cooking and More Home Cooking

American Cooking

A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen
by Hugh Acheson
(Clarkson Potter)

Baking and Dessert

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home
by Jeni Britton Bauer


Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails, Recipes, & Formulas
by Brad Thomas Parsons
(Ten Speed Press)

Cooking from a Professional Point of View

Modernist Cuisine
by Nathan Myhrvold with Chris Young and Maxime Bilet
(The Cooking Lab)

General Cooking

Ruhlman’s Twenty
by Michael Ruhlman
(Chronicle Books)

Focus on Health

Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen
by Heidi Swanson
(Ten Speed Press)


The Food of Morocco
by Paula Wolfert


Notes from a Kitchen: A Journey Inside Culinary Obsession
Artist/Photographer: Jeff Scott

Reference and Scholarship

Turning the Tables: Restaurants and the Rise of the American Middle Class, 1880–1920
by Andrew P. Haley
(The University of North Carolina Press)

Single Subject

All About Roasting
by Molly Stevens
(W.W. Norton & Company)

Writing and Literature

Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef
by Gabrielle Hamilton
(Random House)

2012 James Beard Foundation Design and Graphics Awards

Outstanding Restaurant Design

For the best restaurant design or renovation in North America since January 1, 2009

Design Firm: Bentel & Bentel Architects

Designers: Paul Bentel, Carol Bentel, Peter Bentel and Susan Nagle

Project: Le Bernardin, New York City

Outstanding Restaurant Graphics

For the best restaurant graphics executed in North America since January 1, 2009

Design Firm: Pandiscio Co.

Designer: Richard Pandiscio

Project: The Americano at Hôtel Americano, New York City

2012 James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards

For articles published in English in 2011.

Publications of the Year


Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs


Darra Goldstein

Cooking, Recipes, or Instruction

Anna Thomas


“The Soup for Life”

Environment, Food Politics, and Policy

Ben Paynter

Fast Company

“The Sweet Science”

Food Coverage in a Food-Focused Publication


James Oseland

Food Coverage in a General-Interest Publication

Lesley Bargar Suter

Los Angeles

“Chinese Food in L.A.,” “It’s Time for Breakfast in L.A,” “Food Lovers Guide”

Food Culture and Travel

Fuchsia Dunlop

The Financial Times

“Global Menu: Kicking Up a Stink”

Food-Related Columns

Lettie Teague

The Wall Street Journal

On Wine: Lettie Teague: “Drink, Memory: How to Remember that Wine;” “In Praise of the One-Cabernet Lunch;” “May I recommend: Lessons of Great Sommeliers”

Group Food Blog

The Salt: NPR’s Food Blog

Maria Godoy


Health and Well-Being

Maureen O’Hagan

The Seattle Times

“Feeling the Weight: The Emotional Battle to Control Kids’ Diet”


Brett Martin


“The Hangover Part III”

Individual Food Blog

Poor Man’s Feast

Elissa Altman


“Craving the Food of Depravity”

Personal Essay

Cal Fussman


“Drinking at 1,300 Ft: A 9/11 Story About Wine and Wisdom”


Susan Choi

Food & Wine

“The Spice Wizardry of Lior Lev Sercarz”

Visual Storytelling

Landon Nordeman


“Soul of Sicily,” “BBQ Nation,” “Heart of the Valley”

Wine, Spirits, and Other Beverages

Sarah Karnasiewicz


“Fizzy Business”

Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award

Alan Richman


“The Very Tasty Liberation of Paris,” “I Heart SF,” “Diner for Schmucks”

MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award

John T. Edge


“BBQ Nation”

2012 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Awards

Presented by Lenox Tableware and Gifts
For television, webcast, and radio programs aired in 2011.

Radio Show/Audio Webcast

Fear of Frying: Culinary Nightmares
Host: Nina Barrett
Area: WBEZ
Producer: Jason Marck

Special/Documentary (Television or Video Webcast)

A Matter of Taste: Serving Up Paul Liebrandt
Network: HBO
Producers: Sally Rowe, Rachel Mills, and Alan Oxman

Television Program, In Studio or Fixed Location

Host: Ted Allen and Judges
Network: Food Network
Producers: Linda Lea, Dave Noll, and Vivian Sorenson

Television Program, On Location

Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern
Host: Andrew Zimmern
Network: Travel Channel
Producer: Andrew Zimmern

Television Segment

CBS News Sunday Morning

Host: Martha Teichner

Network: CBS

Producers: Lauren Barnello, Jon Carras, Edward Forgotson, Patrick Lee, and David Small

Video Webcast

eatTV with Jamie Tiampo
Host: Jamie Tiampo
Producers: Suzanne Glickstein, Jimmy McCoy, and Jamie Tiampo

Media Personality/Host (Television or Video Webcast)

Host: Ted Allen
Show: Chopped
Network: Food Network

2012 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards

Best Chefs in America

Chefs who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions. Each candidate may be employed by any kind of dining establishment and must have been a working chef for at least the past 5 years. The 3 most recent years must have been spent in the region where the chef is presently working.

Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)

Bruce Sherman

North Pond


Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)

Maricel Presilla


Hoboken, NJ

Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)

Tory Miller


Madison, WI

Best Chef: New York City (Five Boroughs)

Michael Anthony

Gramercy Tavern

Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NY STATE, RI, VT)

Tim Cushman

O Ya


Best Chef: Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY)

Matt Dillon

Sitka & Spruce


Best Chef: Pacific (CA, HI)

Matt Molina

Osteria Mozza

Los Angeles

Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS)

Chris Hastings

Hot and Hot Fish Club

Birmingham, AL

Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV)

Hugh Acheson

Five and Ten

Athens, GA

Linton Hopkins

Restaurant Eugene


Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, NV, OK, TX, UT)

Paul Qui


Austin, TX

Best New Restaurant

Presented by Mercedes-Benz

A restaurant opened in 2011 that already displays excellence in food, beverage, and service and is likely to have a significant impact on the industry in years to come.


Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional

Presented by Southern Wine & Spirits of New York

A winemaker, brewer, or spirits professional who has had a significant impact on the wine and spirits industry nationwide. Candidates must have been in the profession for at least 5 years.

Paul Grieco



Outstanding Wine Program

A restaurant that displays and encourages excellence in wine service through a well-presented wine list, a knowledgeable staff, and efforts to educate customers about wine. Candidates must have been in operation for at least 5 years.

No. 9 Park


Outstanding Bar Program

Presented by Campari

A restaurant that displays and encourages excellence in cocktail, spirit, and/or beer service through a well-presented drink list, a knowledgeable staff, and efforts to educate customers about beverages.



Outstanding Service

Presented by Stella Artois

A restaurant that demonstrates high standards of hospitality and service. Candidates must have been in operation for at least the past 5 years.

La Grenouille


Outstanding Pastry Chef

A chef or baker who prepares desserts, pastries, or breads and who serves as a national standard-bearer for excellence. Candidates must have been pastry chefs or bakers for at least the past 5 years.

Mindy Segal

Mindy’s Hot Chocolate


Outstanding Restaurateur

A working restaurateur who sets high national standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship. Candidates must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years. Candidates must not have been nominated for a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past 10 years.

Tom Douglas

Tom Douglas Restaurants


Rising Star Chef of the Year

Presented by Jade Range

A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to have a significant impact on the industry in years to come.

Christina Tosi

Momofuku Milk Bar


Outstanding Restaurant

A restaurant in the United States that serves as a national standard-bearer for consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere, and service. Candidates must have been in operation for at least 10 or more consecutive years.


San Francisco

Outstanding Chef

Presented by All-Clad Metalcrafters

A working chef in America whose career has set national industry standards and who has served as an inspiration to other food professionals. Candidates must have been working as chefs for at least the past 5 years.

Daniel Humm

Eleven Madison Park


2012 James Beard Foundation America’s Classics

Presented by Coca-Cola

The Fry Bread House

4140 North 7th Avenue, Phoenix

Owner: Cecelia Miller

Nora’s Fish Creek Inn

5600 West Highway 22, Wilson, WY

Owners: Nora Tygum, Trace Tygum, and Kathryn Tygum Taylor

St. Elmo Steak House

127 South Illinois St., Indianapolis

Owners: Stephen Huse and Craig Huse

Jones Bar-B-Q Diner

219 West Louisiana St., Marianna, AR

Owners: James and Betty Jones

Shady Glen

840 East Middle Turnpike, Manchester, CT

Owners: William and Annette Hoch

2012 James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America Inductees

Grant Achatz

Chef and Author


Mark Bittman

Journalist and Author


Dana Cowin

Editor and Journalist


Emily Luchetti

Pastry Chef and Author

San Francisco

Marvin Shanken



2012 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award

Wolfgang Puck

Chef and Restaurateur

Los Angeles

2012 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year

Charlie Trotter

Chef and Restaurateur



  • Michael Martensen

    Happy for Paul. I am sure he is talented. But in his late 20’s this does not make sense. Bruno is the man. I feel that the Beard awards don’t like Dallas due to it lack of people like Bruno, Byres, Tesar, Uygar, McClelland, Jeff Harris Techi to name a few. They see us as steakhouse, tex and don’t forget more steakhouse.

  • Robert

    You are right. Dallas is steakhouses and pretentious restos that are unapproachable and not innovative in their creativity. Austin is the Mecca of the food scene in Texas and chefs down here think outside of the box and aren’t stuck in the 90s. The best chefs from the area that want to succeed head to ATX. Sorry but it’s true. I’m from FTW and live the Mansion but Austin is light years ahead of the DFW metroplex.

  • DGirl

    It was a nice showing for Texas chefs – Bruno, Paul, Bruce and Hugo – four out of the six nominees are from Texas restaurants. I think you’re wrong, Robert, and haven’t really gotten to know the food scene in both Dallas and Austin. I’ve eaten at Uchiko and The Mansion and I still think Bruno is a better chef with a better technique. Paul’s food is great but I think this award is premature adulation.

  • Wes Mantooth

    Is Paul the first Top Chef winner to pick up a Beard award following his win on the TV show? Good on him.

  • Scott–DFW

    When it comes to Texas, generally, national media have trouble seeing beyond Austin. That will always result in selection bias in beauty contests like this.

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  • Robert

    DGirl – I worked in the resto scene in DFW for many years, and Bruno is very deserving, but just like a good music scene, theatre scene or whatever, there are cities where things are advancing within THE scene faster and better than others. Austin is that to the Texas resto scene. The culinary world is going in a new, bolder direction and the powers that be are looking to younger more open minded folks to lead this direction. Eating somewhere is one thing, but when you work in the industry as I do for almost 20 years and get to see how the industry is changing, you would understand why the JBF would recognize Chef Paul over Bruno or Hugo or Bruce. That’s just the way things are now in the culinary world.

  • higher education

    Just to be clear Austin while trendier, slightly more adventurous, and definitely a lower price point is a culinary scene for the newbie… Not a true restaurant town. Everything in that TOWN has a much lower ceiling than Dallas. All culture be it cuisine, art, performance and film must be presented in a way that students can afford or understand… This while inviting freedom from traditional menu trappings leaves much to be desired by way of execution. And to be clear Tyson Cole is the man behind all things UCHI.