This morning, the James Beard Foundation announced the list of finalists of the annual James Beard Foundation Awards. The short list of chefs, bartenders, restaurants, and restaurateurs comes about a month after the foundation announced a long list of nominees back in February.
This year, chef Kevin Binkley of Binkley's Restaurant in Cave Creek is the only Arizonan to make the list of James Beard Award finalists. For the fourth year in a row, Binkley is a finalist in the Best Chef: Southwest category.
Binkley is up against five other nominees in the category this year, including three chefs who were also on last year's finalist list: Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine in Austin; Hugo Ortega of Hugo's in Houston; and Justin Yu of Oxheart in Houston. Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue in Austin and Martín Rios of Restaurant Martín in Santa Fe are also finalists this year.
Last year, in his third bid for the Best Chef: Southwest award, Binkley lost to Houston chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly.
This morning's announcement means the end of the road for the three other Arizonans who were nominated in February but failed to make the list of final nominees.
They include Charleen Badman of FnB in Scottsdale, who was also nominated in the Best Chef: Southwest category; Sam Fox of Fox Restaurant Concepts, who was nominated in the Outstanding Restauranteur category; and Chris Bianco's Pizzeria Bianco, which was nominated for Outstanding Restaurant.
The winners will be announced on Monday, May 4 at a ceremony at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
You can view the complete list of final nominees for the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards on the James Beard Foundation website.