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2017 Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame Awards Nominees

Posted on: November 5th, 2017 by Taryn Jeffries No Comments

There are tons of local awards that take place throughout the year. Okay, maybe not tons, but a few, but there is unquestionably only one that celebrates locals without shifting into a popularity contest based on as many votes as you can fit into a specific amount of time. The 2017 Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame Awards, in their 26th year, is affirmed to be the biggest and best year to date.

the 2017 arizona culinary hall of fame awardsThe 2017 Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame Awards nominees are determined by a select group of individuals in the Valley, think chefs, mixologists, members of the media, farmers, organization leaders and board members. Once the nominees are chosen, the Scottsdale League for the Arts members, members of the local food and beverage community along with previous Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame awards winners.

All of those votes will be tallied and then announced at an exciting soiree on November 13th at the Wrigley Mansion’s Garden Room. Jamie Cerreta will be the event emcee, bringing an upbeats elegance to the event. The event promises to be a night of fun, celebrating those that make our dining experiences so memorable. Guests will enjoy light bites and a lively celebration for only $35 per person. There will also be a cash bar for those wishing to imbibe a little.

I have attended the event in the past as a member of the media and have been inspired by the vibe and overall energy of the celebration. This year will be even more exciting and nerve-wracking as I have received a nomination. You know how you always hear people at award events saying how it’s “an honor to be nominated?” It is so incredibly true. I am so incredibly honored to see my name amongst so many people that I look up to and find inspiration from. The 2017 Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame Awards are going to be a crazy adventure and I am so grateful to be part of it as more than an enthusiastic observer this year!

Now, onto all the nominees!

Nominees for the 2017 Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame Awards

Chef of the Year

Christopher Nicosia | Sassi
Jeff Smedstad _ Elote Café
Jeremy Pacheco | Lon’s a the Hermosa Inn
Anthony DeMuro | Different Pointe of View

Best Upcoming Chef

Joshua Amonson | Bourbon & Bones
Rochelle Daniel | Fat Ox
Richard Hinojosa | Crujiente Taco
Matthew Taylor | Mora Italian

Restaurateur of the Year

Hard Knocks Hospitality
Barrett Rinzler | SquareOneConcepts, Inc
Wild Thyme Group

Mixologist of the Year

Keifer Gilbert | Counter Intuitive + Under Tow
Matt Farrow | Iconic Cocktail Co
Joshua James | Clever Koi
Fernando Bambaren | Virtu

Brewer of the Year

Preston Theony | Wren House
Derek “Doc” Osborne | Pedal Haus Brewery
Chad McClelland | Goldwater Brewing Company
Brian Helton | Helton Brewing Company

Winemaker of the Year

Sam Pillsbury | Pillsbury Wine
Kent Callaghan | Callaghan Vineyards
Maynard James Keenan | Caduceus Cellars/Merkin Vineyards

Food Truck of the Year

Aioli Gourmet Burger
Left Coast Burrito
The Great Pho King Food Truck
Waffle Love AZ

Food Writer of the Year

Taryn Jeffries | Phoenix Bites
Sarah & Matthew | Geeks Who Eat
Dominic Armato | AZ Republic

Lifetime Achievement


Alex Simons Lifetime Achievement*

John Fontana | Arizona Arts Alliance

*The Alex Simons Lifetime Achievement Award was established to recognize exceptional commitment to the arts in Arizona. Alex was a founding member of SLA and volunteered much of his time to the arts in Scottsdale. His family established an endowment for the award upon his death in 2001 to keep the memory of his love for the arts alive.  The Scottsdale League for the Arts will be honoring John Fontana with the award this year for his work and dedication to the Arizona Art Alliance and the Veterans Outreach Program.

Want to join me to see who the winners will be? All winners will be announced live at the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame on Monday, November 13, 2017. The event will take place from 6:30pm until 9pm. You can get still get your tickets. Make sure to come say “hi” if you attend!

If you were part of the judging body, who would your picks be?


About the Author - Taryn Jeffries

Editor and Chief Eating Officer of PhoenixBites, 2017 Food Writer of the Year (Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame) Taryn grew up in a small town in Illinois with a doting Grandmother who taught her the way around a kitchen and that food is representative of love. Her current quest is to find the love in local dishes and the chefs behind them. In addition to running all things PhoenixBites, Taryn is also a freelance wirter, sharing her insight on the best dishes and where to get them each and every month.

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