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Every year the James Beard Foundation hands out its awards for exceptional work in the restaurant industry. Ranging from chefs and restaurateurs to food journalists and cookbook authors, the 'Beard Awards' are the highest honor awarded to professionals.

Here on Menus and McMahon, I like to take notice of restaurants in Phoenix that have impressed me, and I'm happy to say a few of my favorites have made the list of semi-finalists.

A few on the list are to be expected, like ‘Pizzeria Bianco' and restaurant owner Sam Fox.

Watch the video to see the other local restaurants and chefs nominated or find a list of all the semifinalists here.

The finalists will be announced March 18th, with the awards being given on May 2 and May 5.

Pat McMahon, Host

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