James Beard Award semifinalists: 6 Arizona chefs, restaurants nominated for 2017 awards

This year, the James Beard Foundation has nominated the Italian restaurant for the Outstanding Restaurant award; it shares the category with nineteen other establishments around the country.

After three consecutive years of being nominated for Outstanding Chef, the prestigious competition's top prize, Sean Brock was not named to this year's list of potential contenders. Though this is the first time the farm-to-table restaurant has been nominated for its excellence in hospitality, it's certainly no stranger to being in the spotlight.

The Des Moines culinary scene received another nod Wednesday morning with the announcement of the James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalists.

In May, the James Beard Foundation hosts their award ceremony, giving awards to restaurants and chefs in both national and regional categories.

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Among the semifinalists are five ME chefs nominated in the Best Chef: Northeast category. Also included in this year's group are Paul and Joe Bartolotta in the Outstanding Restaurateur category. She won Best Chef: Southeast in 2011.

Chefs, including Jennifer Jasinski (a previous James Beard Award winner) and Eric Skokan (far right), prep for aJames Beard dinner last fall.

Dallas earned a spot on the list of Best New Restaurants semifinalists via Flora Street Cafe, the restaurant in Dallas' Arts District from chef Stephan Pyles. Anyone can nominate someone to be a semifinalist in 21 categories; this year, the semifinalists were chosen from more than 24,000 entries.

Ilma Lopez of Piccolo in Portland is an Outstanding Pastry Chef semifinalist, and Alison Pray, one of the founders of Standard Baking Co., is up for Outstanding Baker. We still have to get through the final nominees, announced on March 15, before winners are announced on April 25.

  • Alfonso Moody