Today, the James Beard Foundation Awards, also known as the Oscars of the culinary world, culled its huge February listing of restaurant and chef semifinalists into a short selection of finalists for this year's awards, which will be announced on Monday, May 6, at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.
This year, Phoenix had four James Beard semifinalists compared to seven (statewide) in 2012. Of those four, only chef Kevin Binkley -- of Binkley's Restaurant in Cave Creek, Cafe Bink in Carefree, and Bink's Midtown, which opens in Phoenix on Wednesday -- is moving on to possible James Beard Award glory in the category of Best Chef: Southwest.
Here's who didn't win -- and who Binkley's up against.
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No longer in contention is Sam Fox of Scottsdale-based Fox Restaurant Concepts (Olive & Ivy, True Food Kitchen, Zinburger), who was a semifinalist in the category of Outstanding Restaurateur; Vincent on Camelback, chef Vincent Guerithault's French restaurant in Central Phoenix, which was a semifinalist in the category of Outstanding Restaurant (it was also a semifinalist in 2012); and chef Shinji Kurita of ShinBay in Scottsdale, who was a semifinalist in the category of Best Chef: Southwest (last year, ShinBay was a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant).
For this year, Binkley, who was also a finalist for Best Chef: Southwest in 2012, will be up against Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine in Austin, Jennifer Jasinski of Rioja in Denver, Hugo Ortega of Hugo's in Houston, and Chris Shepherd of Underbelly (also in Houston).
To see the full list of 2013 finalists, visit the James Beard Foundation website.