Winners Announced for Inaugural Devour Excellence Awards at the 2017 Devour Culinary Classic

Contact: Erica Fetherston, Local First Arizona, 602-956-0909 ext. 7,

Winners Announced for Inaugural Devour Excellence Awards at the 2017 Devour Culinary Classic

Phoenix, Arizona (March 5, 2017) - The Devour Culinary Classic debuted the inaugural Devour Excellence Awards at this year’s event, showcasing Arizona’s culinary talent and bringing deserved attention to our state’s culinary leaders. A diverse panel of judges representing prestigious organizations and publications from across the country were on site to determine 2017 award winners. Both Saturday and Sunday restaurant participants were reviewed for selection in the following categories: Excellence in Innovation, Excellence in Taste, and Excellence in Presentation, with Excellence in Distinction being given to one candidate overall.

The results of the awards follow:

Devour Culinary Classic Excellence Awards Results: Saturday

Excellence in Presentation: Jared Porter, Clever Koi, Chilled Scallop Sno Cone

Excellence in Innovation: Taylor Domet, True Food, Torched Avocado

Excellence in Taste: Tamara Stagner, Helio Basin Brewing Company, Smoked Bison Taquito with Epazote Cream

Runners Up, Excellence in Taste:

  • Todd Allison, T. Cooks at Royal Palms, Sea Bass

  • Atsade Desta, Cafe Lalibela

Devour Culinary Classic Excellence Awards Results: Sunday

Excellence in Presentation: Aaron Chamberlin, St. Francis, “Caulipops”

Excellence in Innovation: Jada Shiya, Churn, Banana Split on a Stick

Excellence in Taste: Jason Atford, Roka Akor, Short Rib with Black Garlic

Runner Up, Excellence in Taste: Bernie Kantak, The Gladly, Brown Butter Tuna Crudo

Excellence in Distinction (Overall)

The overall favorite to win the Excellence in Distinction Award over the 2-day event was the Bison Taquito from Tamara Stagner of Helio Basin Brewing Company.

Panel of Judges

Howard Seftel, Food Writer

From 1992 to until he retired in 2015, Howard Seftel spent 23 years writing about the Valley restaurant scene, at the Phoenix New Times and Arizona Republic. A native New Yorker, he lived abroad for five years after college in the 1970s — three years in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer, followed by two years in pre-revolutionary Iran working for an American company. He then moved to Berkeley to work on a Ph.d, teaching there and at Antioch University in Los Angeles before settling in Phoenix in 1990. He and his wife Kathleen have two daughters, two sons-in-law and three grandsons.

Barbara Pool-Fenzel, Host of Arizona PBS cooking shows and founder of Les Gourmettes Cooking School

Barbara Fenzl plays many roles on the American culinary stage. She has owned and operated Les Gourmettes Cooking School in Phoenix for the last 33 years. A television personality, she hosted the 13-week PBS series, “Savor the Southwest,” and all of KAET-TV’s last twelve cooking-related pledge drives, and she is a regular guest on “Your Life A to Z,” a local morning television show. As a writer she had authored Southwest the Beautiful Cookbook, Savor the Southwest and Seasonal Southwest Cooking, was a frequent contributor to Bon Appétit magazine and is the former food editor of Southwest Passages and Phoenix Home and Garden magazines. Her first love is teaching and she is a renowned cooking teacher in the United States, the Périgord region of France, and Mexico (Rancho La Puerta). Active in the culinary community, she is past president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, benefactor and past board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food, former member of the James Beard Restaurant Awards Committee, and past president of the Arizona Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International. An inductee in the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame and recipient of the Greater Phoenix Chef’s Association Humanitarian of the Year, Ms. Fenzl has the distinction of having the Junior League of Phoenix’s kitchen named after her and has been the honorary chairman of numerous fundraising events. She received the Girl Scouts World of the Arts Award in 2002 and was named a 2003 Master of the Southwest by Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine. She holds B.S. and M.A. degrees and has studied cooking at the Cordon Bleu (London) and Ecole LeNôtre.

Cheryl Alters-Jamison, Four-time James Beard award-winning cookbook author and host of Heating It Up on KVSF 101.5 and The Voice of Santa Fe Listen Live

Cheryl is among the nation’s most lauded writers, with four James Beard book awards and numerous other honors to her credit. With her late husband Bill, she’s penned enough books on food and travel to endow a small library, all the while living out nearly everyone’s dreams about traveling the globe in search of great meals and adventure. Their dozen plus books on food cover broadly the subjects of outdoor cooking and American home cooking, and are noted for their depth of research and cultural background. Cheryl and Bill’s classic Smoke & Spice, on real American barbecue, has sold over a million copies. Nothing thrills Cheryl more though than living in New Mexico. She’s written about it for publications such as Saveur, Cooking Light, and Bon Appétit and in books including The Border Cookbook, The 50th Anniversary Rancho De Chimayó Cookbook, American Home Cooking, and Tasting New Mexico: Recipes Celebrating 100 Years of Distinctive Home Cooking. Most recently, she collaborated with Chef Martín Rios on The Restaurant Martín Cookbook. Cheryl was culinary editor for New Mexico Magazine, where she remains a contributor. She has consulted with the New Mexico Tourism Department too, where she developed the cuisine section for and worked on culinary initiatives such as the Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail and Culinary Treasures Trail. She is a three-decade resident of the village of Tesuque on the outskirts of Santa Fe, where she raises a small flock of chickens with out-sized personalities and all hues of eggs. Thanksgiving is her favorite holiday, though she likes any excuse for a party. Cheryl is always—always—excited about food. She digs into the food world’s hottest topics weekly as host of Heatin’ It Up on KVSF radio, 101.5, The Voice of Santa Fe.

Adam Erace, Award-winning food writer and Food Network personality

Adam Erace went from a kid whose dinner plate was no-vegetable, nothing-touch zone to a restaurant critic and food, drink and travel writer who eats trotters and brains on the reg. Adam’s writing has appeared in publications such as Travel + Leisure, Fortune, Saveur, Pursuits, Details, Martha Stewart Weddings, Eater, Southern Living, Punch, Food & Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, the Telegraph, the Guardian, Afar, Fodor’s, Jetsetter, Edible Philly, the Daily Meal, Chef’s Feed, Grid, Drink Me, the Courier-Post and more. He lives in South Philly with his wife, Charlotte, and two maniacal Chihuahua mixes.

Adam Callaghan, Freelance Food Writer and Editor

Adam is a freelance writer, editor, and educator focused on food, beverage, and travel; he’s also the editor of Eater Seattle. Originally from Maine, Adam picked up an affinity for well-made beer while he was living and working in Germany; he then moved back home in time to witness the meteoric rise of craft brewing, which took off in spectacular fashion in New England. The movement inspired him to study, create, teach, and write about all things fermented, cultured, and cured, from cider to fish sauce. After covering the area’s booming culinary scene as editor of Eater Maine, he moved to Seattle with his girlfriend and ghost editor, Stasia, to escape the snow, and he’s soaking in everything the Pacific Northwest has to offer — especially the vibrant green moss inspired by the perpetual mist. He wishes he could grow a lemon tree in his backyard, though, Phoenix-style.

The 2018 Devour Culinary Classic will be held at the Desert Botanical Garden during March 3-4, 2018. The event will be preceded by other events that have become part of the Devour lineup including the Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition, Palette to Palate, and others. For more details on the move to the Desert Botanical Gardens, visit