It was a big year for Hugo Ortega. In 2013, he and his wife, Tracy Vaught, published Backstreet Kitchen: Seasonal Recipes from Our Neighborhood Cafe, the Backstreet Cafe cookbook celebrating the restaurant's 30th anniversary. Ortega and Vaught opened Caracol, a Mexican seafood restaurant in an expansive (and expensive) space in the new BBVA Compass building on Post Oak, and it was immediately a hit with customers and critics alike. Then the man whose namesake restaurant, Hugo's, has been thrilling diners for years was a finalist for a James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest. Even though he lost to another Houstonian, Chris Shepherd, Ortega's continued dedication to quality food and presentations in spite of his busy schedule makes him a winner in our book.