Last year, the Arizona Restaurant Association honored restaurants, chefs, and other food service professionals whose talents set them apart as industry leaders with the inaugural Foodist Awards. The association defines "Foodists" as "a collective of like-minded food worshipers. A Foodist breathes and sleeps in order to eat and drink. They are bona fide food fans -- those who immerse themselves in the artistry of the food industry."
And if you think you know one, it's time to get nominating for this year's awards.
Nominations open today and can be made online submitted online. Food industry professionals are invited to nominate themselves or someone they know. Submissions will be accepted now through Monday, February 24.
Last year's nine categories were:
Food Pioneer: Given for dedication and leadership that has helped transform Arizona's restaurant scene into today's vibrant restaurant industry. Winner: Chef Kevin Binkley, Binkley's
Top Chef: Given to an executive chef or chef de cuisine who demonstrates consistent standards of excellence and continues to break new ground while enhancing the dining experience. Winner: Chef Justin Beckett, Beckett's Table
Good Neighbor: Given to an individual or restaurant who demonstrates exceptional community service and charitable involvement. Winner: Province
Master Mixologist: Given to the bartender/mixologist who consistently strives to "raise the bar" for their restaurant or beverage program. Winner: Aaron Defeo, Casino Del Sol
Emerging Restaurant: For an "up and coming" restaurant that demonstrates exemplary talent, shows innovation, and distinguishes itself as a pacesetter. Winner: Searsucker
Restaurant Concept: Given to the "crème de la crème" of restaurant concepts. Winner: The Yard
Outstanding Food Truck: Given to the food truck that demonstrates consistent standards of excellence and continues to break new ground while enhancing the mobile dining experience. Winner: Short Leash Hot Dogs
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Uniquely Arizona: Recognizes the restaurant that has helped shaped Arizona's culinary landscape. Restaurant must be unique to Arizona. Winner: El Chorro
Multiple Location Restaurant: Given to a restaurant concept with multiple locations that demonstrates consistent standards of excellence and continues to break new ground while enhancing the dining experience. Winner: Oregano's
Stay tuned to the Arizona Restaurant Association website for more details and to see the finalists.