TEX-AS! TEX-AS! TEX-AS!! Hey! We did pretty well in the semifinals for the James Beard Foundation awards, announced a couple of days ago–thirteen Texas restaurants and chefs got nods. Of course, it ain’t like the numbers that New York garners, or Los Angeles (grumble, grumble), but considering the competition, thirteen is a very respectable showing. Following another elimination round, the final winners will be announced in May in New York at the James Beard gala banquet. Seeing as how I’m in Austin, I’m especially happy that two local restaurants were recognized: Uchi and La Condesa. (La Condesa owner Jesse Herman could have been speaking for all the nominees when he said, “It’s an honor to be included in such great company–we hope it directs attention to the great local food scene.”) Here are the nominees for the 2010 James Beard Foundation Awards: SEMIFINALIST FOR OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEUR Jim Goode and Levi Goode, Goode Company Restaurants, Houston SEMIFINALIST FOR OUTSTANDING CHEF Robert Del Grande, RDG + Bar Annie, Houston Stephan Pyles, Stephan Pyles, Dallas SEMIFINALIST FOR RISING STAR CHEF OF THE YEAR Justin Basye, Stella Sola, Houston SEMIFINALIST FOR BEST NEW RESTAURANT La Condesa, Austin Samar, Dallas SEMIFINALIST FOR BEST PASTRY CHEF Plinio Sandalio, Textile, Houston Philip Speer, Uchi, Austin SEMIFINALISTS FOR BEST CHEF, SOUTHWEST Bryan Caswell, Reef, Houston Tyson Cole, Uchi, Austin Sharon A. Hage, York Street, Dallas Richard Knight and James Silk, Feast, Houston Armando Pomales, Cafe Central, El Paso (Cafe Central is the source of the totally outrageous image at the top of this post! “Too much is never enough!”)