Local Arizona Restaurants & Chefs Named James Beard Awards Semifinalists

Every year, the James Beard Foundation nominates top-notch restaurants and chefs around the nation for the James Beard Foundation Awards. The prestigious awards are commonly referred to as the “Oscars” of the restaurant and hospitality industry. To no surprise, this year, Arizona restaurants and chefs made a strong appearance throughout the 23 categories both regionally and nationally.

The James Board Foundation committee has nominated several Arizona restaurants and chefs throughout various national categories. Silvano Salcido Esparaza of Barrio Café in Phoenix is ​​under consideration for the outstanding chef category. Proper Meats + Provisions in Flagstaff is a semifinalist for the outstanding restaurant category. Glai Baan in Phoenix is ​​nominated for the outstanding wine and other beverages program category.

Christian Lowe of Shift Kitchen & Bar in Flagstaff is under consideration for the emerging chef category. Crystal Kass at Valentine in Phoenix is ​​nominated for the outstanding pastry chef category, and JL Patisserie, located both in Phoenix and Scottsdale, is a semifinalist for the outstanding bakery category.

The James Board Foundation committee nominated six Arizona chefs under the best chef in the Southwest category. Rene Andrade and Robert Centeno at Bacanora in Phoenix; Jaren Bates and Brett Vibber at The Table at Junipine in Sedona; Wendy Garcia at Tumerico in Tucson; Fernando Hernández at Testal in Phoenix; and Yotaka and Alex Martin at Lom Wong in Phoenix were nominated.

Becoming a James Beard Awards semifinalist is no easy feat. The acclaimed awards recognize talent and achievement in the culinary arts as well as a demonstrated exceptional commitment to racial and gender equity and community.

Finalists will be announced on March 29 and winners will be declared at the awards ceremony hosted in Chicago on June 5. To view the complete list of semifinalists, click here.

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