For the first time in the three-year history of the Ripe Awards, a local culinary accolade given out by the Phoenix Art Museum's Men's Arts Council, the public is being asked to nominate chefs and bartenders "whose innovative creations demonstrate the unique culture of the Phoenix dining scene."
The annual awards aim to recognize Phoenix's "freshest" culinary talent. Past winners have included chefs Matt Carter, Jesse Hansen, Justin Beckett, Danielle Leoni, and Gio Osso (2014), as well as Bernie Kantak, Josh Hebert, Charleen Badman, Greg LaPrad, and Silvana Salcido Esparza (2013).
See also: New Ripe Awards Rotten for Some Foodies
This year the awards will recognize five up-and-coming chefs, as well as one spirit marker or bartender. This will be the first year the awards have also recognized talent in the local drinks scene.
Following the public online nominations, the Phoenix Art Museum and journalists from The Arizona Republic will select finalists and winners.
Though the list of past winners includes some of the Valley's top chefs, in previous years the Ripe awards have been called into question for being too closely intertwined with a local public relations agency.
The awards are presented by the Phoenix Art Museum's Men's Arts Council, an organization that's a client of local public relations, advertising, and marketing firm Awe Collective (formerly Salt). In both the first and second years of the Ripe awards, three of five winners were also current or former clients of the same public relations firm.
This year the Ripe Awards ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 25 at the Phoenix Art Museum. The ceremony will be open to the public and tickets cost $55. For more information, to nominate a chef/bartender, or to purchase tickets to the event visit the Ripe Awards website.