4 New Mexico Chefs and Restaurants Make 2024 James Beard Finalists List

Receiving a James Beard Award is one of the finest honors a chef or restaurant can receive. For these New Mexico chefs and eateries, they’re now one step closer to this achievement after being named finalists for the 2024 James Beard Awards. 

The awards, which started in 1990, bring together boards of judges to recognize leaders in the culinary and food industry. It’s not an easy feat to accomplish but New Mexico has a number of past winners such as Cheryl Alters Jamison and Fernando Olea of Sazón. This year’s finalists hope to show off New Mexico’s talent with another win (or four) for the state.

The Compound, Santa Fe, NM

Outstanding Restaurant Finalist presented by Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water

The Compound commits to excellence not only in their food but also in their wine list and exceptional service. The restaurant incorporates local, seasonal ingredients to create innovative dishes like their Grilled Cavandish Quail with bacon lardons, pearl onions, and mushrooms. Owner and James Beard Best Chef of the Southwest 2005 Mark Kiffin runs the establishment and also works to bring together a community space where he can give back to the people who got him to where he is today. We’re big fans, and we’re raising a glass to celebrate this news. 

The Burque Bakehouse, Albuquerque, NM

Outstanding Bakery Finalist

In downtown Albuquerque, you can walk into The Burque Bakehouse and grab a delicious pastry or baked good to start off your morning. What started off as a farmers market stand has now turned into a bustling storefront, handcrafting each item with care in small batches (even their croissants take 3 or 4 days to make). They source their ingredients from local farms and mills in New Mexico and the surrounding four corners region so you know you’re getting the tastiest product possible.

Steve Riley, Mesa Provisions, Albuquerque, NM

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, NM, NV, OK) Finalist

The Southwest is one of the most important aspects of Chef Steve Riley’s work. The restaurant’s menu is constantly changing to include seasonal ingredients from New Mexico to create fresh, unique flavors. For instance, their Mesa Burger uses Native American Beef and is topped with green chile (What could be more New Mexico?), American and white cheddar cheese marrownaise, pickles, and caramelized onions. Even though Mesa Provisions recently opened in 2021, Chef Steve Riley has made quite the name for the establishment already thanks to these practices.

Eduardo Rodriguez, Zacatlán, Santa Fe, NM

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, NM, NV, OK) Finalist

Chef Eduardo Rodriguez has always wanted a restaurant of his own where he could share his heritage with his community. Even the name of his restaurant Zacatlán takes inspiration from where he grew up in Zacatecas, Mexico. His goal is to keep the traditions of Mexico alive while bringing in new flavors that marries Southwestern and Mexican influences. One example of this style is his Branzino Fish Al Pastor which incorporates sweet corn cauliflower, pineapple salsa, and a black sesame seed cucumber avocado salad.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony on June 10 so keep an eye on the James Beard website for more information on how to stream the live event.

Story by Kylie ThomasA footer photo with a white background, one TABLE Magazine and subscribe info and button

Subscribe to TABLE Magazine‘s print edition.


We respect your privacy.


Related Articles

The Pink Adobe Celebrates 80 Years of Service in Santa Fe

This Santa Fe staple gets a very special birthday celebration from its new owners.

The International Folk Art Market and Its Impact on Artists

See how the International Folk Art Market is shaking up the artistic world.

Laura Crucet Cooks Up Elevated Cuisine On “The Hill”

With three restaurant choices you'll just have to try them all!