Best New Restaurant: Vecina
Outstanding Bar Program: Little Rituals
Outstanding Chef: Nobuo Fukuda of Nobuo at Teeter House
Outstanding Hospitality: Kai Restaurant (Gila River Indian Community)
Outstanding Restaurant: Pizzeria Bianco
Outstanding Pastry Chef: Country Velador, SuperChunk Sweets & Treats (Scottsdale)
Outstanding Restaurateur: Mike Mastro and Jeff Mastro, Prime Steak Concepts (Dominick’s Steakhouse, Steak 44, Ocean 44)
Outstanding Wine Program: FnB (Scottsdale)
Rising Star Chef of the Year: Cassie Shortino, Tratto
That's a whopping 17 nominations in 10 categories.
Again, this is an absolute deluge of nominees. The sharp increase is due party to redistricting of the "Southwest" region this year, which has seen Texas and its many great food cities moved to another category. But it's also simply due to the level of food and drink we have here.
You probably remember that Charleen Badman of FnB won Best Chef: Southwest in 2019. FnB scooped yet another nomination. Her win last year and this flood of nominations reflect what people who eat and drink here know: Some amazing things are happening in the desert.
The list of semifinalist nominees covers a stunning range of ground in the Valley, from bars to pizza, sushi to Jamaican, progressive Mexican to progressive Southern, north Scottsdale to the Gila River Indian Community.
Cheers to these local chefs, beverage artisans, hospitality masters, and our boss food scene.