Chow Bella

Here Are The 2016 Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame Nominees — Including New Times' Lauren Saria

Every year the Scottsdale League for the Arts recognizes some of the top professionals in the local food and beverage industry with an induction into the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame. This year, the awards feature five new categories, including Best Upcoming Chef, Brewery of the Year, Winemaker of the Year, and Food Writer of the Year. 

We are excited to announce that our own Lauren Saria, New Times food editor, is a finalist for the food writing award. At 24, she's got to be one of the youngest people to be nominated for induction into any hall of fame ever, but the truth is that Saria has covered the Phoenix food scene longer than just about anyone we can think of. She began as an intern for our food section in 2011, then completed gigs as a digital media fellow and freelance writer — along with graduating from Arizona State University with both her bachelors and masters degrees in journalism — before ultimately being named the paper's food editor. Last year, her 2014 cover story about efforts to grow heirloom wheat in Arizona won first place in the "newspaper food feature category" of the Association of Food Journalists awards

The Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame awards will be announced Monday, March 28 at Livewire AZ in Scottsdale. For details about the event, including tickets, visit the Scottsdale Culinary Festival website

Here's the complete list of the 2016 Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame nominees: 

Chef of the Year
Mel Mecinas, Talavera at the Four Seasons and Troon North
Joshua Hebert, POSH “Improvisational Cuisine”
Bernie Kantak, Citizen Public House and The Gladly
Christopher Nicosia, Sassi

Best Upcoming Chef
Garrison Whiting, Counter Intuitive
Taylor Sorenson, Christopher’s Restaurant and Crush Lounge
Dushyant Singh, Artizen at The Camby
Sacha Levine, Ocotillo

Restaurateur of the Year
Cakewalk Management
Fork and Dagger Development
Osio Culinary Group
Jim Riley and Tucker Woodbury

Mixologist of the Year
Ross Simon, Bitter and Twisted Cocktail Parlour
Luke Detraz, Director of Mixology, Southern Wine and Spirits
Robert Porter, Jade Bar at the Sanctuary Resort on Camelback Mountain
Brandon Casey, The Ostrich

Brewer of the Year
Anthony Canecchia, SanTan Brewery
Adam Schmeichel, Fate Brewing Company
Eric Greene, Dragoon Brewery
Preston Thoeny, Wren House Brewing

Winemaker of the Year
John McLoughlin, Cellar 433
Kent Callaghan, Callaghan Vineyards
Eric Glomski, Page Springs Cellars
Karyl Wilhem, Wilhem Family Vineyards

Food Truck of the Year
Aioli Gourmet Burger
Short Leash Hot Dogs
The Grilled Cheese Truck
Phoenix Satay Hut

Food Writer of the Year
Lauren Saria, Phoenix New Times
Christina Barrueta, Write on Rubee
Diana Brandt, Arizona Foodie
Joanie Simon,

Lifetime Achievement Award
Christopher Gross

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at