2012 James Beard Awards Finalists Announced: Only One Valley Nominee Moves On to the Finals

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​Last month, the James Beard Foundation announced its semifinalists for the 2012 JBF Restaurant and Chefs Awards -- and the Valley got loved on -- hard.

Silvana Salcido Esparza, owner and chef of Barrio Cafe and Barrio Queen, and chef Kevin Binkley of Binkley's Restaurant and Café Bink were both nominated for Best Chef: Southwest. (Chef John Sharpe, of The Turquoise Room at La Posada Hotel & Gardens in Winslow, Arizona, also made the list.) Plus, Sam Fox, of Scottsdale-based Fox Restaurant Concepts, was nominated in the category of Outstanding Restaurateur; Vincent on Camelback, chef Vincent Guerithault's French restaurant in Central Phoenix, was nominated for Outstanding Restaurant; and, Scottsdale's ShinBay, the low-profile Japanese eatery from chef Shinji Kurita, was nominated for Best New Restaurant.

Today, final nominees for the 2012 James Beard Awards were announced, and sadly, only one Valley semifinalist made the cut.

- In the Best Chef: Southwest category, only chef Kevin Binkley of Binkley's Restaurant and Café Bink made the cut. Chefs Silvana Salcido Esparza and John Sharpe, of The Turquoise Room at La Posada Hotel & Gardens in Winslow, Arizona, did not.

- In the category of Outstanding Restaurateur, Sam Fox did not make the final cut.

- In the category of Outstanding Restaurant, Vincent on Camelback did not make the final cut.

- In the category of Best New Restaurant, ShinBay did not make the final cut.

The winners of the 2012 James Beard Awards will be announced Monday, May 7, at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. To see the full list of finalists, go here.

On another James Beard note, last week, Fry Bread House, was named as one of five winners of the James Beard Award Foundation's 2012 America's Classics award, which honors legendary family-owned restaurants across the country.

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