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Valley chefs, restaurateur named as James Beard Award semi-finalists

(Facebook/James Beard Foundation)

PHOENIX — Three Valley chefs and one restaurateur are one step closer to taking home a coveted award that is only granted to local businesses dubbed as American classics.

Silvana Salcido Esparza, Kevin Binkley, Charleen Badman and Sam Fox were all named as semi-finalists for the 28th annual James Beard Foundation Awards.

Esparza, Binkley and Badman were all named as semi-finalists for the best chef in the Southwest, while Fox was named as an “outstanding restaurateur” semi-finalist for Fox Restaurant Concepts.

Badman is the chef at FnB in Scottsdale, while both Binkley and Esparza are chefs at their respective Phoenix restaurants. Esparza is the chef at Barrio Café Gran Reserva and Binkley heads Binkley’s Restaurant.

Related: Three Arizona restaurants recognized with James Beard Awards

The restaurant connoisseurs were picked from a list of more than 20,000 online entries, according to a press release.

In a Facebook post, Barrio Café Gran Reserva acknowledged the nomination and congratulated the other chefs. FnB did the same in a Facebook post of its own.

The final nominees will be announced on March 14.

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