PHOENIX — Three Arizona chefs have been named Southwest semifinalists for James Beard Awards, the annual honors for excellence in cuisine, culinary writing and education.
Charleen Badman of FnB in Scottsdale, Silvana Salcido Esparza of Barrio Urbano in Phoenix and Jeff Smedstad of Elote Cafe in Sedona are three of 20 contenders up for awards in each of the categories in the Beard Awards.
Badman and Esparza are no strangers to the awards, having both advanced to the semifinals in recent years. Badman has been nominated four straight years, but was still excited.
She tweeted out her appreciation for the recognition and told KTAR’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes on Thursday, “It’s always an honor.”
Newcomer Jeff Smedstad also shared his excitement on social media.
The consideration was open to any all chef and restaurants who applied online for the awards. The restaurant and chef committee, panelists, judges and past Beard Award winners all help in deciding the new winners.
Five finalists will be narrowed down on March 15, and the winners will be announced on May 1 at the awards Gala in Chicago, according to the James Beard Foundation website.
The James Beard Foundation created the awards in 1990 to highlight and recognize culinary artists making delicious dishes in the food and beverage industries.
There are about 12 chef and restaurant categories at the James Beard Awards.
Besides Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Oklahoma and Texas also represent the Southwest region.
Arizona has had nine best chef winners, which is more than any other state, Mouth by Southwest reported.
- Skin Cancer in Arizona: Stats, facts and new immunotherapy drugs making strides
- Distracted walking injuries end up not so funny
- Scary situations: 5 quick tips before you let a contractor in your home
- Four ways telemedicine is changing the health care industry
- 5 mistakes homeowners make in the spring
- Three rivers run through it: Exploring Arizona's waterways
- Smart home basics: things you need to know to get started
- 5 Surprising things causing back pain
- Arizona agriculture is a $17.1B industry
- Timeline: Arizona's roots in brewing history
- 5 reasons to love the D-backs this season
- Tips for taking your home entertainment experience to the backyard
- Tech-related injuries your parents never experienced
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments
- Here’s why Gaydos went tankless with his water heater
- Bocce ball and basketball: How you can help Arizona's Special Olympics athletes
- Tips on building the best wine room in Arizona
- Avoid the nightmare: 6 tips to choose a great contractor
- Breast cancer: Improved testing and treatments means more survivors
- Failed back surgery: New hope for patients living in pain
- Ticking time bombs: Telltale signs your water heater is about to explode
- Ex-reality TV star arrested in Phoenix for car theft, drugs
- Tesla to add Supercharging station to Phoenix, other US cities in expansion
- ‘Deadliest Catch’ star Jacob Harris arrested in Phoenix for car theft, drug possession
- Arizona Legislature advances bill blocking background checks on private gun sales
- Crews battling 7,500-acre Sawmill Fire in southern Arizona