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San Antonio chef at Pearl restaurant snags fourth James Beard nomination

February 27, 2019

For the fourth year in a row, San Antonio chef Steve McHugh of the Pearl restaurant Cured has been named a semifinalist for a James Beard Award, the veritable Oscars of the food world.

McHugh made it to the finalist round for Best Chef: Southwest the past three years but has yet to bring home the title. He is nominated in the same category this year.

Speaking from last year’s awards gala, McHugh said, “We’re going to work hard to bring it home next year. You can count on that.”

McHugh was recognized for his work as chef and owner of Cured, described in the latest Express-News review as a restaurant that “puts fire to smart ideas across the menu, then fortifies them with a solid bar program and a thoroughly professional staff.” The review described McHugh as “San Antonio’s blue-collar Bocuse.”

The nomination marked San Antonio’s only mention in this year’s Beard Awards. Texas in general fared better, with a dozen semifinalists for Best Chef: Southwest, two for wine and spirits, three for service, and one each for Rising Star Chef, pastry, restaurateur, wine program and bar program. Chris Shepherd of Houston was nominated for Outstanding Chef, and Suerte in Austin and Petra and the Beast in Dallas were nominated for Best New Restaurant.

Finalists will be announced March 27.

San Antonio has come close to a Beard Award in the past. Finalists have included Bruce Auden of Biga on the Banks, Andrew Weissman of Le Rêve and Il Sogno Osteria fame and local writers Melissa Guerra and Terry Thompson-Anderson for cookbooks.

Other San Antonio semifinalists for Beard Awards have included Diego Galicia and Rico Torres of Mixtli; David Gilbert of Sustenio; Michael Sohocki of Restaurant Gwendolyn; Jason Dady of Jason Dady Restaurants for Outstanding Restaurateur; Biga on the Banks for Best Service; and The Esquire Tavern for Outstanding Bar Program.

Mike Sutter is a food and drink reporter and restaurant critic in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read him on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | msutter@express-news.net | Twitter: @fedmanwalking