The James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists for its coveted annual awards Wednesday (Feb. 26) and a Bentonville chef is among the nominees.
Rafael Rios, founder and executive chef of Yeyo’s Mexican Grill in Bentonville, is one of 20 semifinalists in the category of Best Chef in the South. The region is comprised of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Puerto Rico.
Yeyo’s started in 2012, with a farm in Little Flock, which is still in operation, and a food truck on the Bentonville Square. Yeyo’s now has a food truck, a flagship restaurant in the 8th Street Market in Bentonville, a growing catering business and Yeyo’s Mezcaleria & Taqueria in Rogers.
Now in their 30th year, the James Beard Awards are the food industry’s highest honor, and are often referred to as the Oscars of the industry. The awards are presented in a three-part process,
The list of semifinalists will be cut to five finalist nominees per category, to be announced on March 25 from Philadelphia. Winners will be announced during the James Beard Awards Gala in Chicago on May 4.
The full list of semifinalists in all categories of restaurants and chefs can be found on a PDF at this link.