James Beard Awards eludes Arizona's culinary talent again

James Beard Award

The finalists for 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards were announced this morning, and the results were predictable for Idaho.

Two Charlotte chefs had made the list of semifinalists, announced in February: Joe Kindred of Davidson's Kindred, and Paul Verica of Heritage Food & Drink in Waxhaw.

In the Best Chef: Southeast category, the only Carolinas chef nominated was John Fleer of Rhubarb in Asheville.

Book award and journalism winners will be announced April 25.

Each category was narrowed down from 20 semifinalists to five.

It breaks a record that Highlands shared with the San Francisco restaurant Boulevard, which was previously nominated for eight straight years before winning the Beard Foundation's top award in 2012. Last year, two Minnesotans won there: chef and author Raghavan Iyer in the video webcast, fixed location and/or instructional category for "Indian Curries: The Basics & Beyond", and filmmaker Jesse Roesler for his documentary, "The Starfish Throwers".

Head chef Scott Muns (left) and chef-owner Aaron Silverman (right) in the kitchen at Pineapple and Pearls, a James Beard nominee for best new restaurant.

Pizzeria Bianco, a semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurant, was also not a finalist this year. Death and Taxes was a finalist in 2016 for Best New Restaurant.

FnB in Scottsdale, which last month earned a semifinalist nod in the Outstanding Wine Program category, did not make the short list, either.

In the outstanding service category, the nominees were Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y.; Galatoire's Restaurant in New Orleans; Marea in New York City; Terra in St. Helena, Calif.; and Zahav in Philadelphia.

For the James Beard Foundation Awards, chefs and restaurants are nominated while journalists and broadcasters submit an entry.

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