Five NM chefs are James Beard Award semifinalists - Albuquerque Journal

Five NM chefs are James Beard Award semifinalists

David Sellers, right, chef and owner of Horno, with son Mateo, center, and wife Heather. Sellers is a semifinalist for a James Beard Award. (Courtesy of David Sellers)

The James Beard Awards remains one of the most prestigious accolades in the culinary world.

On Wednesday, the James Beard Foundation announced its 2023 Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists.

Five New Mexico chefs were all awarded the semifinalist distinction in the category of Best Chef: Southwest.

Albuquerque’s Basit Gabua of Tikka Spice is the lone chef nominated from Albuquerque.

Meanwhile, Taos’ Andrea Meyer from The Love Apple is also on the list.

Justin Pioche, from the Pioche Food Group from Upper Fruitland (Doolkai) on the Navajo Nation is also a semifinalist on the list.

Santa Fe has two chefs on the list.

The first is David Sellers from Horno Restaurant. Joining Sellers on the list is Luis and Berenice Medina from El Chile Toreado.

Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation, said the semifinalists are an exhilarating moment to kick off the awards cycle and recognize the achievements of the teams around the country.

“After a year of fundamental changes, we look forward to building on the progress made, celebrating those paving a better future for us all—through their talent and craft, service to others, and commitment to a better, more sustainable industry,” Reichenbach said in a release.

Finalists will be announced on March 29, and winners will be celebrated at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards Ceremony on June 5, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

“We are so thrilled to recognize this year’s Restaurant and Chef Awards Semifinalists, a truly diverse group of talented individuals across the culinary industry,” said Adrian Miller, Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee Chair.

The James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards — established in 1990 and first awarded in 1991 — are one of five separate recognition programs of the Awards.

In 2022, Santa Fe-based chef Fernando Olea of Sazón picked up the award for Best Chef: Southwest.

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