Arizona shut out (yet again) from James Beard Award finals

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, March 15, 2017


No Beards for you!

That was the message to Arizona this morning when the prestigious James Beard Awards, the culinary world’s equivalent of the Oscars, announced its 2017 finalists in dozens of food and drink categories.

Three Arizona chefs who were up for Best Chef Southwest – Charleen Badman from FnB in Scottsdale, Silvana Salcido Esparza from Barrio Urbano in Phoenix, and Jeff Smedstad from Elote Cafe in Sedona – failed to advance to the category’s six-person finals.

Arizona has had nine Best Chef Southwest winners, but has been shut out in the category since Nobuo Fukuda won a decade ago. The region consists of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah.

Other Arizona nominees who failed to make this year’s finals: Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix (Outstanding Restaurant), Sam Fox of Phoenix-based Fox Restaurant Concepts (Outstanding Restaurateur), and FnB (Best Wine Wine Program).

You can see the complete list of finalists in every category here. The 2017 winners will be announced May 1.

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