The Oscars of the food world will take place today in New York City when the James Beard Foundation honors the country's best food and beverage professionals at the 24th annual James Beard Awards. The event will take place at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center and will be livestreamed online.
This year Arizona's only finalist is chef Kevin Binkley, who's in the running for the Best Chef: Southwest award. Binkley, of Binkley's Restaurant in Cave Creek, has been nominated in that category every year since 2005. He has never won.
This year the ceremony's theme is Sounds of the City, so the awards will explore the "enduring relationship between music and food." The master of ceremonies will be former James Beard Foundation-award winner Ted Allen.
Binkley is up against four chefs, all of whom are based in Texas -- three from Houston restaurants and one from Austin. The Best Chef: Southwest category covers chefs from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Utah.
Best Chef: Southwest Finalists
- Kevin Binkley, Binkley's, Cave Creek
- Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine, Austin
- Hugo Ortega, Hugo's, Houston
- Chris Shepherd, Underbelly, Houston
- Justin Yu, Oxheart, Houston
The competition is stiff this year. Gilmore was named one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs in 2011 and his restaurant Barley Swine was named one of the Best New Restaurants in America by GQin 2012. Ortega, of Hugo's and Backstreet Cafe, was also a James Beard Foundation Award finalist in 2012 and 2013, while Shepard was also one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs just last year. Yu was nominated for the James Beard Foundation's Rising Star Chef of the Year award last year.
You can livestream the event online starting at 6 p.m. EST to see if this will be Binkley's big year.
For more information visit the James Beard Foundation website.