Six female chefs from the Phoenix area have been named semifinalists for the 2019 James Beard Awards, presented by the James Beard Foundation. These awards are considered the Super Bowl of food awards for chefs. This is just the first round. Overall, the Valley has eight semifinalists.
First, Chrysa Robertson of the Scottsdale staple Rancho Pinot (number one on our 2018 list of Phoenix essentials) has been nominated for outstanding chef, a category that, like the next two, is not restricted by region.
Kai Restaurant in Chandler was nominated for outstanding service.
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Samantha Sanz (Talavera at the Four Seasons) and Cassie Shortino (Tratto) each received a nod for Rising Star Chef of the Year.
And in the category of Best Chef Southwest, Nadia Holguin (of the now-closed Roland's Market Cafe Bar), Silvana Esparza (of Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva), Kevin Binkley (of Binkley's Restaurant), and Charleen Badman (of FnB) were nominated.
The finalists will be announced on March 27 and the winners on May 6.
We'll keep you updated as these awards progress to future rounds.