Apr 3, 2024 - News

These Arizona chefs are James Beard Award finalists

A midcentury modern building with signs that say, "Modern Manor" and "Valentine."

Valentine's Crystal Kass is a finalist in the Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker category. Photo: Jeremy Duda/Axios Phoenix

Only two Arizona chefs remain in the running for a coveted James Beard Award following the announcement of finalists Wednesday.

Why it matters: The James Beard Foundation's awards are among the highest honors in the culinary arts and have the power to put restaurants on the national map.

Driving the news: Valentine's Crystal Kass is a finalist in the Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker category and Bacanora's Rene Andrade is a finalist for Best Chef Southwest.

  • A dozen Arizona chefs, restaurants and restaurateurs were semifinalists.

Flashback: Both Kass and Andrade were semifinalists in their respective categories last year. But neither made the finalist list.

  • Valentine opened in 2020 inside Modern Manor, a mid-century modern furniture store in the Melrose District.
  • Bacanora opened in 2021 on Grand Avenue. Andrade is also a co-owner of Espiritu in Mesa and Huarachis Taqueria in downtown Phoenix.

What's next: The winners will be announced at the gala ceremony in Chicago in June.

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