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4 Austin semifinalists named in James Beard Awards

El Naranjo's executive chef Iliana de la Vega was named a semifinalist for best new Texas Chefs. (El Naranjo/Instagram)

The 2022 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards semifinalists list is here and four of its candidates call Austin home.


One of five recognition programs awarding restaurateurs, leaders and media professionals, the James Beard Foundation Media Awards have been running since 1991. Austin already boasts four James Beard Award winners: Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue, who won in 2015; Paul Qui of East Side King, who won in 2012; Tyson Cole of Uchi, who won in 2011; and Diana Kennedy, an Austin-based cookbook author, in 1986.

For the first time, the James Beard Foundation will award the Best Texas Chef, a category that was announced in 2020 but had to be postponed after the 2021 awards were canceled due to accusations of bias. Previously, Texan chefs were listed in the best chefs of the Southwest category.

Austin may have nabbed four nominations but fellow big Texas cities got away with even more—Houston claimed nine nominations, while Dallas and San Antonio each made out with seven nominations.

Emerging chef nominees:

  • Edgar Rico, chef and co-owner of Mexican eatery Nixta Taqueria.
  • Amanda Turner, chef de cuisine of Southern restaurant Olamaie, which had seen three finalist nominations in the past.

Best New Texas Chef nominees:

  • Damien Brockway, pitmaster and barbecue truck Distant Relatives owner.
  • Iliana de la Vega, executive chef and co-owner of Oaxacan restaurant El Naranjo. This will be her third semifinalist nomination.

Finalists will be announced on March 16 before commemorating the winners during a June 13 ceremony at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

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With deposition and trial looming, Elon Musk has offered $44B for Twitter, again
Shutterstock

Elon Musk has proposed once again to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share.

The news that Musk is offering to carry on with the $44 billion buyout was first reported by Bloomberg. Now, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows Musk made the proposal in a letter to the tech giant on Monday.

The New York Stock Exchange temporarily halted trading in Twitter stock twice Tuesday, first because of a big price move and the second time for a news event, presumably the announcement of Musk's renewed offer.

While the per share offer price on this latest proposal remains the same as the original offer, it’s unclear if Musk has made other term changes or if Twitter would reject it. According to other reports, a deal could be reached this week.

The stock closed at $52.00/share Tuesday, indicating market uncertainty around the $54.20 offer.

After Musk informed Twitter of plans to terminate the original agreement in July, Twitter sued. A trial has been expected in Delaware Chancery Court on Oct. 17.

With the proposition of a buyout on the table again, it revives the question of whether Musk might move Twitter from San Francisco to Central Texas.

He’s done so with some of his other companies. Tesla’s headquarters in southeast Travis County had its grand opening earlier this year and tunneling business The Boring Company moved to Pflugerville. At least two other Musk companies, SpaceX and Neuralink, have a Central Texas presence without being headquartered here.

Technology journalist Nilay Patel this afternoon voiced concerns that owning Twitter and Tesla together could be problematic for Musk, as his Tesla manufacturing facilities in Germany and China are both in countries that have disputes with Twitter over content moderation and censorship.

Telsa shares fell after the Twitter news became public, before rallying to close up, at $249.44.

Austin rents nearly double in a year and are now in the top 5 nationwide
Dwellsy

While searching for a place to live, Austin renters will face monthly rates of nearly $3,000, a recent guide from rental marketplace Dwellsy shows.

The median rent in August this year was $2,930, a more than 86% increase since August 2021. That’s $820 more than the nationwide median asking rent in August and puts Austin just below the Bay Area, Boston and New York for large cities with the most expensive asking rent.

“Within this group, Austin, TX stands out for the highest increases in asking rent, which has nearly doubled since this time last year,” the study notes.

Outside of those large cities, however, others are seeing even higher rent spikes. Metro areas that ranked above Austin in one-year increases include those like Kansas City, MO with a 112% change in rent since last August and Tucson, AZ with a 124% change.

The data reflects large apartment communities, single-family homes and 2-6 unit buildings.