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Chefs Hugo Ortega and Jianyun Ye Are 2017 James Beard Award Finalists

Chef Hugo Ortega
Chef Hugo Ortega Photo by Daniel Kramer
Chef Hugo Ortega
Photo by Daniel Kramer

The James Beard Foundation has just announced its nominations for the 2017 James Beard Awards, and making it to the final round from Houston are Hugo Ortego (Hugo's, Caracol,
Xochi, Backstreet Cafe) and Jianyun Ye (Mala Sichuan Bistro), both nominated for Best Chef: Southwest.

This is Ortega’s sixth nod as a finalist and Ye’s first. The chefs will be up against four other chefs in the category including Austin’s Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine) and San Antonio’s Steve McHugh (Cured).

Though Houston saw its fair share of semifinalists, including Anvil for Outstanding Bar Program and Helen Greek Food's chef William Wright for Rising Star Chef of the Year, nobody else made the final list of nominees.

Winners will be announced at The 2017 James Beard Awards Gala at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 1.  You can find all the finalists, including for the media awards, right here.
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Gwendolyn Knapp is the food editor at the Houston Press. A sixth-generation Floridian, she is still torn as to whether she likes smoked fish dip or queso better.