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2 Bentonville Chefs Nominated for James Beard Award

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Two Bentonville chefs have been named semifinalists for a James Beard award, the nonprofit James Beard Foundation announced.

Matt Cooper and Rafael Rios are among 20 chefs from six states and Puerto Rico nominated in the “Best Chef: South” category.

Cooper is the chef at Conifer, a gluten-free restaurant known for its emphasis on sustainability and its work with local farmers. Rios is the chef at Yeyo’s El Alma de Mexico, a street-style restaurant known for its homegrown ingredients. Yeyo’s was one of the first food trucks in Bentonville. It expanded to a brick-and-mortar location in 2018.

James Beard awards recognize exceptional talent and achievement in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and broader food system, as well as a “demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive.”

Finalists will be announced on April 3. Winners will be announced at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards Ceremony on June 10 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

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