Topolobampo named outstanding restaurant by James Beard

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Hugo Ortega, of Hugo's in Houston, was named Best Chef: Southwest at the May 1 gala in Chicago.

Solomonov, whose Philadelphia restaurant fiefdom includes Zahav, Federal Donuts and Abe Fisher, is often credited with spreading the popularity of Israeli, Sephardic-style food in America and around the world. Her pioneering farm-to-table restaurant, Restaurant Nora, will close at the end of June after a 38 year run. He was nominated for the top honor past year but didn't win.

A James Bear award is among the most prestigious honors in the restaurant industry.

The James Beard Book, Broadcast and Journalism awards were presented April 25 in NY.

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The outstanding baker award went to Mark Furstenberg of Bread Furst in Washington.

For a complete list of winners, head over to the James Beard Foundation website. Zahav's pastry chef, Camille Cogswell, lost to Zachary Engel of Shaya in New Orleans for the Rising Star Chef of the Year award.

With fluid moves, Bayless danced with and around his line cooks behind the bar at his restaurant in West Town during a planned after-party, as he and a couple hundred guests reveled in the afterglow of the Outstanding Restaurant award for Topolobampo. Seattle, New Orleans, Houston and San Francisco also won national awards in other dining and bar categories.

Best Chef nominees, according to the James Beard Foundation, must have worked for at least five years as chefs and "have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions".

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