Local chefs nominated for James Beard Awards
March 14, 2022
James Beard Awards nominations are out and several Arizona chefs are on the semi-finalist list. Of note, Chef Lori Hashimoto of Hana Japanese was nominated for Best Chef Southwest and Chef Donald Hawk of Valentine was nominated for Best Emerging Chef.
Hashimoto wants people to have an experience with food that allows them to become more adventurous in the things that they try, she said. She strives to provide opportunities for people to educate themselves about different cultures, because food is something that brings people together, she said.
Hashimoto said that she has always had a love for food. She was originally on a different career path, but when she decided to change paths it was a very natural transition to go into food because she and her family have always had a love for the culinary arts.
Her nomination for Best Chef Southwest was extremely honoring, she said.
“It was unbelievable, absolutely just an honor, and humbling to know that you can receive that kind of acknowledgement.” Hashimoto said.
Hawk has also always had a passion for culinary arts.
“I saw an ad in my third grade class for a culinary institute and so I thought that would be a cool thing to do,” Hawk recounted. He continued his passion for culinary arts through adolescence by working at a Barro’s.
When asked why he thinks he is nominated for Best Emerging Chef, Hawk said that he focuses on “simple food done well,” and that he is lucky to have a very supportive community behind him.
Hawk and Hashimoto both agreed that a good restaurant experience makes you feel like you are in someones home.
“I think what makes an experience at a restaurant is.. the company that you have, the people that you enjoy, the memories that you make, the things that you share, the things that you love together, the things that you maybe not quite love together. That’s what makes the experience fun,” Hashimoto said.