This morning, a Scottsdale chef was named as a finalist for the 2019 James Beard Awards — chef Charleen Badman of FnB for Best Chef: Southwest. The 2019 James Beard Award nominees in the restaurant and chef, media, and restaurant design categories were announced at a ceremony at Houston.
The finalists are “chefs who set high culinary standards and also demonstrate integrity and admirable leadership skills in their respective regions.” Badman was the only Arizona finalist in a list of Texans, and the only Arizona chef listed as a finalist. She has been a semifinalist for six consecutive years (including this one). Winners will be announced on May 6.
With a history as a chef and restauranteur in New York City, Badman now co-owns FnB — the 2018 Best of Phoenix winner for Best Farm-To-Table Restaurant — with Pavle Milic in Old Town Scottsdale. She’s known as the vegetable whisperer, and for her famous braised leeks.
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As we’ve said at Phoenix New Times, “Badman is uncannily attuned to what is happening on the Valley's farms, dairies, and ranches. She understands and harnesses the delicate spirit of each local ingredient she uses, plating dishes that exceed their parts and delight with rigorous composition, intellectual charm, and inspiring flavors.”
She’s also the founder of the Blue Watermelon Project, which was formed in 2017 and affiliated with the Phoenix chapter of Slow Food. The project’s objective is to educate students about growing and cooking food, the importance of vegetables, food costs, and more in an effort to improve school lunches.
Last month, eight area chefs were announced for 2019 restaurant and chef award semifinalists on February 27.