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New Culinary Award Program Will Select Five of the Valley's Most Cutting-Edge Chefs

There are several culinary award shows throughout the Valley each year, but the newest, according to its public relations firm, aims to be "like a James Beard award, but way more hip and uniquely [Phoenix]."

See also: - OpenTable Announces 100 Best Restaurants in America: Arizona Nabs Four - Zagat's 10 Best Restaurants in Phoenix and Scottsdale

Starting this January, the Phoenix Art Museum's Men's Arts Council will select five of the Valley's edgiest chefs with a new annual award simply called Ripe. The arts group (with help from the restaurant industry) will select chefs who meet the following criteria: Embody the passion of the Phoenix area's culinary scene, create food that exhibits innovation worthy of local/national recognition, and represent fresh talent.

Here's where the first Ripe awards are thus far.

Currently, the Phoenix Art Museum's Men's Arts Council has about 30 candidates for its first Ripe awards. At a press conference to be scheduled in January, the top five Ripe chefs of 2013 will be announced before an awards event hosted by the Phoenix Art Museum.

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The awards event, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, January 31, at the Phoenix Art Museum, will include tastings from the Ripe chefs, Arizona wines, cocktails, and a silent auction. Proceeds will benefit the Phoenix Art Museum.

Want to attend the first Ripe awards show? Tickets are $65 and can be purchased at Ripe's website.

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