4 Arizona restaurants and chefs named James Beard Awards finalists

May 8, 2020, 4:25 AM
Chef Alejandra Albornoz ladles a red sauce over pasta as she and other volunteers prepare food to b...
Chef Alejandra Albornoz ladles a red sauce over pasta as she and other volunteers prepare food to be distributed to their neighbors who are facing hardship because of lost income due to the new coronavirus pandemic, in El Nocedal on the outskirts of Santiago, Chile, Friday, April 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
(AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

PHOENIX — Four Arizona restaurants and chefs were named as finalists for the 2020 James Beard Awards, it was announced on Tuesday.

The James Beard Foundation is a nonprofit culinary arts organization based in New York City and bestows some of the most prestigious awards in the industry.

Of the four Arizona finalists to make the cut, only one was nominated for the Outstanding Restaurant award. That eatery was Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix.

The other three nominees are competing for the Best Chef: Southwest award, which consists of chefs from Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Oklahoma.

Those chefs are Chrysa Robertson of Rancho Pinot in Scottsdale, Jeff Smedstad of Elote Café in Sedona, and Silvana Salcido Esparza of Barrio Café Gran Reserva in Phoenix.

But unfortunately for Esparza, she told the Phoenix Business Journal that she will have to permanently close Barrio Café Gran Reserva due to the coronavirus outbreak.

However, she still owns and will continue to operate Barrio Café on 16th Street and Thomas Road in Phoenix.

Arizona also had 22 semifinalists make the cut prior to the release of the list of finalists.

Last year’s winner of the Best Chef: Southwest award was Charleen Badman of FnB in Scottsdale.

The foundation will announce the winners on May 27.

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4 Arizona restaurants and chefs named James Beard Awards finalists