Steve McHugh of Cured has garnered four James Beard nominations for the Best Chef: Southwest category, but the title went to another chef — Charleen Badman of FnB in Scottsdale, Arizona — during the 2019 awards ceremony in Chicago Monday night.
Despite any local disappointment in the loss, San Antonio has never been named a finalist for the James Beard Awards, in any category, since the culinary awards were first presented in 1991. McHugh is among the few local chefs — including David Gilbert, Jason Dady, Michael Sohocki, Rico Torres, Diego Galicia, Andrew Weissman and Bruce Auden — to be recognized as a semifinalist. The Esquire Tavern was also previously named a national semifinalist in 2012 and 2017 for their bar program.
"It was an honor to be recognized, once again, alongside such a great group of esteemed chefs," said Chef Steve McHugh in a statement to the Current. "To be named a James Beard award finalist for the fourth consecutive year was an award in itself. My wife Sylvia and our entire team look forward to seeing what the future will bring, and we will continue to strive for excellence at Cured!"
Despite Texas chefs making up four of five Southwest semifinalists, Badman was recognized for her ability to "set high culinary standards and also demonstrate integrity and admirable leadership skills in their respective regions."
In addition to leading Cured at the Pearl, McHugh is working to develop a German-style beer garden at La Villita — a culinary development led by chef Johnny Hernandez's Grupo La Gloria – by 2021.
There's always next year, San Antonio. Don't forget, this is the first time Badman, a six-time semifinalist, has been named the James Beard Award finalist.
So many restaurants, so little time. Find out the latest San Antonio dining news with our Flavor Friday Newsletter.