Here Are the 2017 James Beard Award Semifinalists From Arizona

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Before you start rehearsing your acceptance speech, keep in mind that these are semifinalists only.

It's the first nomination for the longtime South Jersey sushi destination.

Two Idahoans have made the cut as semifinalists in the 2017 Restaurant and Chef Awards, bestowed by the prestigious James Beard Foundation.

L'Etoile's wine program was a semi-finalist in 2013. "I was kind of in a haze this morning when texts just starting pouring in". "It means a lot for that restaurant and who we are and what we've been doing for the last 40-plus years".

Paul and Joe Bartolotta of Bartolotta Restaurants are nominated in the category of outstanding restaurateur.

Chefs, including Jennifer Jasinski (a previous James Beard Award winner) and Eric Skokan (far right), prep for aJames Beard dinner last fall.

The category pits chefs from New Jersey against those from Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and has only been won by a New Jersey chef twice: Craig Shelton when he was at the Ryland Inn in Whitehouse Station and Maricel Presilla of Hoboken's Cucharamama.

Wisconsin natives listed in other categories include Phillip Foss of EL Ideas in Chicago, for best chef: Great Lakes, and Alex Seidel, a semifinalist for best chef: Southwest, this time for his second restaurant, Mercantile, in Denver. Winners of the 2017 James Beard Media Awards, honoring the nation's top cookbook authors, culinary broadcast producers and hosts, and food journalists, will be announced on April 25.

There are 20 semifinalists in each category, and the field will be narrowed to five finalists on March 15.

Watch as Alba chef Joe Tripp, who has been named a 2016 James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalist for the Midwest region, prepares a tasting menu for customers at the East Village eatery in Des Moines. Those nominees will be revealed in real time on Facebook Live and Twitter.

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