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Las Vegas Valley chef falls short at James Beard Awards

Updated June 11, 2024 - 11:00 am

Steve Kestler, chef-owner of Aroma Latin American Cocina, did not win the Best Chef: Southwest category Monday evening at the James Beard Foundation Restaurant & Chef Awards in Chicago. Chef Rene Andrade of Bacanora in Phoenix won the category in which Kestler was a finalist.

This marks the second year in a row that the Beards did not recognize a Las Vegas chef in the category. Oscar Amador, chef-owner of Anima by EDO, was a finalist last year but did not win. Amador was also a semifinalist this year for Outstanding Chef, a prestigious national category.

Other Vegas semifinalists this year who did not move to the final round are D.J. Flores, chef-owner of Milpa, and Brian Howard, chef-owner of Sparrow + Wolf, in the Best Chef: Southwest category, and Kimmie and Josh Mcintosh of Milkfish Bakeshop, a bakery pop-up, in the Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker category.

The Peppermill Restaurant and Fireside Lounge, announced in February as the winner of the America’s Classic Award for the Southwest region in 2024, was also recognized at the ceremony, along with the other regional Classic Award winners.

The Beards, often called the Oscars of the food world, were held at the Lyric Opera in Chicago.

Aroma is at 2877 N. Green Valley Parkway, Henderson.

Contact Johnathan L. Wright at jwright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @JLWTaste on Instagram.

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