The James Beard Awards committee today released its “long list” of semifinalists for what’s widely considered the Oscars of the restaurant world, and — no surprises here — there were many Arizona establishments and hospitality professionals on the roster.
In national categories, Silvana Salcido Esparza of Barrio Café in Phoenix is under consideration for outstanding chef, while Proper Meats + Provisions in Flagstaff is being looked at for the outstanding restaurant award. Christian Lowe of Shift Kitchen & Bar in Flagstaff also got a nod for emerging chef. Up for outstanding bakery is JL Patisserie in Phoenix and Scottsdale, while Crystal Kass of Valentine in Phoenix is in the running for outstanding pastry chef or baker. Finally, Phoenix’s Glai Baan is named among the candidates for the outstanding wine and other beverages program award.
Several Arizona names also appear on the long list for best chef, Southwest, which also includes New Mexico, Nevada, and Oklahoma. Among them are Phoenix chefs Rene Andrade and Roberto Centeno from Bacanora, Fernando Hernández of Testal, and Yotaka and Alex Martin from Lom Wong. Jaren Bates and Brett Vibber of the Table at Junipine in Sedona, Nephi Craig of Café Gozhóó in Whiteriver, and Wendy Garcia from Tumerico in Tucson are also being considered.
the James Beard Awards takes place this year at a gala event hosted in Chicago on Monday, June 5. The names of the official nominees in restaurant and chef categories, whittled down from this long list, will be announced on Wednesday, March 29. Nevertheless, being considered is an enormous honor and a feather in the cap for many food industry professionals.
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.