New Mexico chefs, bakers, restaurant earn prestigious James Beard nominations - Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico chefs, bakers, restaurant earn prestigious James Beard nominations

Chef Marie Yniguez stands in the kitchen of her Downtown Albuquerque restaurant, Bocadillos. (Mike Sandoval/For the Journal)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

To be nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award means something is being done right in the kitchen.

On Wednesday, the James Beard Foundation announced the 2022 restaurant and chef award semifinalists – and New Mexico is well represented.

Martín Rios who owns Restaurant Martín is nominated for a James Beard Award.

In the Best Chef: Southwest category, there are 21 semifinalists, five of whom are New Mexico-based .

The Salazar brothers from La Guelaguetza and Marie Yniguez from Bocadillos are representing Albuquerque. Meanwhile, Ahmed Obo from Jambo Cafe, Fernando Olea from Sazón and Martín Rios from Restaurant Martín in Santa Fe are also up for the award.

The Southwest category covers chefs from New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Oklahoma.

In the Outstanding Baker category, Nobutoshi “Nobu” Mizushima and Yuko Kawashiwo from Ihatov Bread and Coffee in Albuquerque are nominated. According to the foundation, the category recognizes a baker of breads, pastries or desserts who displays exceptional skill.

“(They) must consistently sell goods directly to the public, but does not need a brick-and-mortar presence, and must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the past three years,” the foundation said.

In the Best New Restaurant category, the foundation is looking for a restaurant opened in 2020 or 2021 “that already demonstrates excellence in cuisine and hospitality, and seems likely to make a significant impact in years to come.”

Zacatlán Restaurant in Santa Fe is the lone New Mexico representative. The category features 30 restaurants from such places as New York City, Hawaii and San Francisco.

According to the foundation, winners will be celebrated at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony June 13 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The James Beard Awards recognize exceptional talent in the culinary and food media industries, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability and a culture where all can thrive.

The James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards were established in 1991.

Fernando Olea is chef and co-owner of Sazon restaurant in Santa Fe. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

Yuko Kawashiwo and Nobutoshi (Nobu) Mizushima are the co-owners of the Ihatov Bread & Coffee in Albuquerque. The pair is nominated for a James Beard Award. (Jim Thompson/Journal)(
Ahmed Obo, chef and owner of Jambo Cafe, is nominated for a James Beard Award. (Eddie Moore/Journal)
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