This spring, while many in Phoenix’s food community remained unscrewed over their hometown’s evolving status (or lack thereof) as a reputable dining city in the wake of yet another cold shoulder from the James Beard Foundation, one thing seemed to hit everyone’s collective blind spot: Arizona did rank a final contender. And, the first since 2015.
No, not for a rising chef, and no, not for a new restaurant. Part of the James Beard Foundation’s annual spotlight also shines by way of its Media Awards (formerly the Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards), a parallel platform that celebrates some of the country’s best in food-oriented writing, film and multimedia. And, in this year’s case, Arizona may finally take home a win for filmmaking in the “Best Video Webcast, on Location” category with the short film Elements.
Orchestrated in partnership between regional-digital Bite Magazine (published by veteran Phoenix area writer and editor Michelle Jacoby and her husband, award-winning photographer Mark Lipczynski) and Food Talkies, an enthusiastic endeavor by rising videographer Andrew Gooi, Elements made the cut for its nerd-like dive into the elements of nature, each related to what’s happening in Arizona food today.
Bite Magazine and Food Talkies will become the first Arizona-based nominees to arrive this close to bringing home a James Beard Award since 2015 when oft-nominated, oft-overlooked chef Kevin Binkley became a finalist for “Best Chef Southwest”. Arizona’s last actual award recipient was in 2012 when Phoenix’s Fry Bread House earned the foundation’s celebrated “America’s Classics” designation.
Filtered through the craft of some of the Arizona’s most talented personalities in food culture, Elements is a collage of fine-tuned cinematic moments, featuring:
- Earth: Brian Konefal, Coppa Cafe (Flagstaff, AZ)
- Ice: Ross Simon, Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour (Phoenix, AZ)
- Smoke: Jeff Kraus, Crêpe Bar (Tempe, AZ)
- Air: Derrick Shields, beekeeper (Gilbert, AZ)
- Fire: Akos Szabo, formerly of Match Cuisine & Cocktails at the FOUND:RE Hotel (Phoenix, AZ)
- Water: Julie Meeker, Mother Bunch Brewing (Phoenix, AZ)
“Elements started as a way for Mark, Andrew and I to use our skills of video, words and photography as a way to elevate the storytelling experience,” says Michelle Jacoby, co-owner of Bite Magazine. “The resulting film was even more than we expected. It’s a beautiful tribute to the depth of our state’s food community.”
This isn’t the first pass at national recognition for Bite Magazine and Food Talkies. In 2016, they became a finalist for another short film collaboration in Saveur Magazine’s annual Blog Awards, in the reader’s choice “Best Video” category.
Jacoby and Gooi will represent Arizona in person at the James Beard Media Awards in New York City in a special ceremony on April 25th.
Sent from Arizona with love.
You can also watch the full film on Vimeo HERE.