The semi-finalists for this year’s James Beard Foundation culinary awards — known as the Oscars of the food world — have been announced. Three Santa Fe Chefs are notably on the short lists for top honors in their respective categories.
Each year, the James Beard Foundation awards recognize the country’s best chefs with regional Best Chef awards. In the Best Chef of the Southwest award, both Martín Rios of Santa Fe’s Restaurant Martín and James Campbell Caruso of Santa Fe’s La Boca have been nominated. Rios says, “I am honored and excited to be a semi-finalist for a James Beard award for the fourth year in a row. Maybe this will be my year to bring one of these most prestigious awards home to Santa Fe and New Mexico!”
The 2005 James Beard Best Chef of the Southwest, Mark Kiffin, Chef/Owner of Santa Fe’s The Compound Restaurant, has his Zacatecas restaurant in Albuquerque nominated for Best New Restaurant of the Year. Also, Kiffin’s Compound Restaurant has been nominated for this year’s James Beard Outstanding Service award. The Compound Restaurant joins an illustrious list of nominees in this category including Del Posto in NYC, Michael Mina in San Francisco, Quince in San Francisco, The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena and Topolobampo in Chicago.
One of Beard’s annual top honors is the Outstanding Chef award, recognizing the country’s top chef. Six of the 20 nominees in this year’s category are SFWC Fiesta guest chef alumni: Suzanne Goin of Lucques West Hollywood, Paul Kahan of Blackbird in Chicago, Stephan Pyles of Stephan Pyles Restaurant in Dallas, Julian Serrano of Picasso in Las Vegas, Nancy Silverton of Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles and Michael Tusk of Quince in San Francisco.
The finalists for the James Beard Foundation awards will be announced at the annual gala event in New York on May 6th.