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Two Houston chefs named James Beard finalists, one quite a surprise

By Jody Schmal, Houston Chronicle

For Jianyun Ye, the chef at Mala Sichuan Bistro, Wednesday was like any other day. He got to work in the kitchen at 10:30 a.m., clocked out at 3 p.m. and returned for dinner service two hours later.

Until the tail end of his lunch shift, Ye was unaware - as were the owners of the small restaurant sandwiched in a strip center between an electronics store and a noodle shop in Chinatown - that the James Beard Foundation had announced his name, along with Houston chef Hugo Ortega, as a finalist in the Best Chef Southwest category for the organization's annual awards, the Oscars of the food world.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle