Party over: Arizona chefs, restaurants shut out of James Beard Awards

Mar 31, 2023, 9:00 AM

(Pexels Photo)...

(Pexels Photo)

(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — A dozen chefs and restaurants from Arizona were named James Beard Foundation 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards semifinalists, but none will be honored at the final ceremonies.

Arizona was shut out of final nominations released Wednesday, including in the best chef Southwest category.

The following Arizonans were semifinalists for the awards announced on Jan. 25:

  • Rene Andrade and Roberto Centeno, Bacanora, Phoenix (best chef Southwest)
  • Fernando Hernández, Testal, Phoenix (best chef Southwest)
  • Yotaka and Alex Martin, Lom Wong, Phoenix (best chef Southwest)
  • Jaren Bates and Brett Vibber, The Table at Junipine, Sedona (best chef Southwest)
  • Nephi Craig, Café Gozhóó, Whiteriver (best chef Southwest)
  • Wendy Garcia, Tumerico, Tucson (best chef Southwest)
  • Proper Meats + Provisions, Flagstaff (outstanding restaurant)
  • Christian Lowe, Shift Kitchen & Bar, Flagstaff (emerging chef)
  • JL Patisserie, Phoenix and Scottsdale (outstanding bakery)
  • Crystal Kass, Valentine, Phoenix (outstanding pastry chef or baker)
  • Glai Baan, Phoenix (outstanding win and other beverages program)
  • Silvana Salcido Esparza, Barrio Café, Phoenix (outstanding chef)

The James Beard Foundation was founded in 1990 and gave out its first awards in 1991. The awards recognize 23 categories, including a new outstanding bakery honor.

The voting body structure was updated this year, and semifinalists were determined from recommendations made by scouting and tasting judges, subcommittee members and the general public.

Subcommittees and judges visited the recognized semifinalists and scored their dining experiences. The top five scoring restaurants were named nominees.

Last year, Chris Bianco of Phoenix’s Tratto, Pane Bianco and Pizzeria Bianco was honored for outstanding restaurateur, while Don Guerra of Tucson’s Barrio Bread was named outstanding baker. Bianco also won in 2003.

The full list of 2023 nominees is posted online, and the awards ceremonies will take place on June 5 in Chicago.

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Party over: Arizona chefs, restaurants shut out of James Beard Awards