No longer competing with restaurants in California for the “Oscars of the food world,” the James Beard Foundation has nominated chefs Dan Krohmer and James Trees for its prestigious Best Chef Southwest award, chosen by judges across the country.
Krohmer’s Japanese-influenced Other Mama in Spring Valley and Trees’ Italian restaurant Esther's Kitchen in the Arts District will be pitted against Jonathan Perno’s creations at Campo at Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico, and three Arizona restaurrants, chef Chrysa Robertson’s Rancho Pinot in Scottsdale, the Elote Cafe in Sedona helmed by Jeff Smedstad, and Silvana Salcido Esparza at the Barrio Café Gran Reserva in Phoenix.
The original list of 20 nominees for Best Chef Southwest included chef Nicole Brisson, formerly with Locale Italian Kitchen, and Chef Alan Ji at Mott 32 at the Palazzo.
Marc Vetri of Vetri Cucina in Philadelphia, with a location at the Palms, is a finalist for Outstanding Chef.
Forced to announce its finalists via Twitter and honoring a temporarily shuttered restaurant industry, the foundation also remote streamed to social media and more than 1,000 live viewers, replacing a scheduled in-person event in Philadelphia. The finals will take place on September 25 in Chicago.
This year debuted the newly aligned southwest region that moves Nevada out of direct competition with the voluminous options on the West Coast to join Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
Future winners receive, “bragging rights, a handsome medal, an impressive certificate, a lot of publicity, and the satisfaction of having been recognized by your peers.” The 2020 Media Awards will be disclosed online on May 27, celebrating cookbooks, broadcast media, and journalism.
Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Awards.
• Here Are the 2020 James Beard Awards Restaurant, Chef, and Media Finalists [Eater]
• The 2020 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards Postponed Until September [Eater]
• Four Las Vegas Chefs Compete for James Beard Foundation Awards [ELV]
• Here Are the 2020 James Beard Awards Restaurant and Chef Semifinalists [ELV]