3 peeps from around the El Paso area are in the running for a very cool award that is one of the most sought after in the culinary world.

2 Chef's and a restaurant owner, from here in El Paso and from nearby La Mesa, have been named as semifinalists for their respective awards.

The restaurants are Taconeta and Elemi in El Paso and Chope’s Café in La Mesa, between El Paso and Old Mesilla.

What JBF Awards Could They Win?

  • Taconeta got their nomination in the "Outstanding Wine and Beverage Program" category.
  • Chef Emiliano Marentes, owner and head chef at Elemi, is up for his 3rd nomination ... 3 in a row, by the way ... in the "Best Chef category".
  • Josefina Garcilazo, the chef at Chope’s Café, has a shot at winning the "Best Chef of the Southwest" category.

“Getting nominated for James Beard can really catapult your career,” said Michael Diaz de Leon, an El Paso-born chef who was a finalist for the James Beard Foundation nomination for Best Chef Mountain Region in 2023.

“There are eyes on El Paso now.”

Diaz de Leon earned his nomination while he was chef at Bruto in Denver. - El Paso Inc

Diaz De Leon got the nod for a Mexican-inspired omakase menu and his restaurant was one of five in Colorado that got a Michelin star in 2023.

What Is The JBF Award?

The James Beard Foundation awards are presented annually to food industry members who have shown remarkable talent in their culinary fields as well as showing a commitment to gender and racial equality. To see the 2023 winners, click here.

El Paso Restaurants That Need To Open A 2nd Location We Can Enjoy

New Mexico's Oldest Restaurant

Gallery Credit: Dubba G

More From 600 ESPN El Paso