Chef Steve McHugh stands in front of his restaraunt, Cured. Photo by Scott Ball.
Chef Steve McHugh stands in front of Cured at Pearl. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Steve McHugh, the celebrated chef of San Antonio restaurant Cured, is again receiving the highest of culinary accolades.

The James Beard Foundation on Wednesday named McHugh a semi-finalist for its “Best Chef” of the Southwest award. This is McHugh’s fourth nomination for the award, considered the U.S. food industry’s highest honor.

“I am so honored for this incredible distinction to be selected in the James Beard Best Chef Southwest category for Cured,” McHugh stated. “My wife Sylvia and I respectfully look towards our dedicated staff as part of our achievement, because what we accomplish as a team is far greater than what I can achieve as an individual.”

McHugh is the only San Antonio chef to receive a nod for the 2019 awards. Eight chefs and restaurants in Austin were on the list, including the Mexican-inspired Suerte as one of 30 “best new restaurants.” That’s despite San Antonio being named a Creative City of Gastronomy by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2017.

McHugh was a James Beard semi-finalist in 2016 and a finalist the following two years. In 2018, he shared the semi-finalist bill with San Antonio chefs Diego Galicia and Rico Torres of Restaurant Mixtli.

McHugh opened Cured in 2013 in the historic Administration Building at the Pearl. The restaurant is known for its menu of hand-crafted cured foods, from charcuterie to pickles.

James Beard awards are given in 21 categories including chefs and restaurants, books, journalism, broadcast media, and restaurant design and graphics, as well as for lifetime achievements.

Finalists among the nominees for the 2019 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards will be named March 27 in Houston, with awards presented at a ceremony on May 6 in Chicago.

Other past James Beard nominees and semi-finalists from San Antonio include Bruce Auden (Biga on the Banks), Andrew Weissman (Le Reve), Jason Dady (Jason Dady restaurants), Michael Sohocki (Restaurant Gwendolyn), David Gilbert (Sustenio), and The Esquire Tavern (Jeret Peña).

The James Beard Foundation is named for the cookbook author and teacher who championed American cuisine. The foundation administers not only the food industry awards, but also maintains the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs.

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Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is the development beat reporter for the San Antonio Report.