No Arizona chefs or restaurants named 2023 James Beard award finalists
No Arizona restaurants or chefs made the James Beard Foundation's list of 2023 award finalists announced Wednesday.
State of play: The snub was surprising because 12 Arizona chefs, two restaurants and one bakery were named semifinalists for the prestigious awards in January.
- Outstanding Chef: Silvana Salcido Esparza, Barrio Café | Phoenix
- Outstanding Bakery: JL Patisserie | Phoenix and Scottsdale
- Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program: Glai Baan | Phoenix
The intrigue: Arizona had the most semifinalists for "Best Chef" in the Southwest region, which includes New Mexico, Nevada and Oklahoma, but not one local cook made it to the finalist round.
Those semifinalists were:
- Rene Andrade and Roberto Centeno, Bacanora | Phoenix
- Jaren Bates and Brett Vibber, The Table at Junipine | Sedona
- Nephi Craig, Café Gozhóó | Whiteriver
- Wendy Garcia, Tumerico | Tucson
- Fernando Hernández, Testal | Phoenix
- Yotaka and Alex Martin, Lom Wong | Phoenix
Flashback: Last year, Chris Bianco, of Pizzeria Bianco and Tratto, won Outstanding Restaurateur and Don Guerra, of Barrio Bread in Tucson, won Outstanding Baker.
Our thought bubble: Awards are nice, but happy hearts and full tummies — which you get at all of these eateries — are even better.
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