This morning, the James Beard Foundation announced its Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists. The James Beard Awards given to chefs are broken down into categories, some based on region. In the Southwest, metro Phoenix chefs earned three nods.
For "Best Chef: Southwest," the three metro Phoenix semifinalist chefs are Charleen Badman (FnB in Scottsdale), Kevin Binkley (Binkley's Restaurant in Phoenix), and Silvana Salcido Esparza (Barrio Café Gran Reserva in Phoenix).
The awards are widely considered the most prestigious in the food world.
At 9:30 this morning (February 15), the foundation will be announcing Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalist nominees live on its Twitter feed.
Award finalists will be announced in Philly on March 14. This year's crop of winners will be announced on May 7 in Chicago. Stay tuned for more.
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Update: A fourth Phoenix-based food professional, Sam Fox of Fox Restaurant Concepts (The Henry, North Italia, Little Cleo's Seafood Legend, and many others), was nominated as a semifinalist for a separate award: "Outstanding Restaurateur." This category of James Beard Award does not have a geographic restriction.