Local First Arizona announces the winners of the 15th annual Devour Culinary Classic.  The event showcasing Arizona’s top chefs was hosted Feb. 24-25 at Desert Botanical Garden in partnership with the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance.

Ranking Arizona: Top 10 resorts for 2023

A panel of top food critics and journalists from around the country tasted dishes served by over 50 participating restaurants and purveyors, scoring on taste, presentation, degree of difficulty and creativity. 

Dishes that qualified for awards were then designated Best in Show, Double Gold Medal, Gold Medal, Silver Medal, Bronze Medal and Heritage Food Medal. 

The second year of the Heritage Food Medal honors the best dish with ingredients that are indigenous, heirloom, low-water, desert-adapted or locally sourced (within a 100-mile radius of the restaurant) and thus more sustainable for Arizona. Climate-smart foods are essential for farmers, chefs and diners to support and expand for the future of our state.

In addition, Devour volunteers helped attendees divert a record 3 tons of waste from the landfill to recycling or composting, a 70% diversion rate.

Devour Culinary Classic 2024 Award Winners:

Best in Show: Gastronomic Union of Tucson (GUT chefs) 

Juan Almanza, Kelzi Bartholomaei, Mat Cable, Michael Elefante, Obadiah “Obie” Hindman, Sarah Lamberth, Roderick Ledesmo and Devon Sanner

Judges called these dishes “mouthwatering,” “killer” and “luscious” 

Birria Campanelle – Campanella with Barrio Beer Beef Birria Guisado, Cotija, Cilantro Oil, Avocado + Lime Salsa, Corn Crema

Tacos de Canasta de Calabazo + Cascabel – Mesquite Roasted Local White Squash, Cascabel Chiles, Pepitas, Tepary Beans, Corn Tortilla, Pomegranate Pickled Shallots, Azafran Vegan Crema, Mushroom Chicharron with Sonoran Chile Crisp, Mico Cilantro

Jamaica & Limoncello Cheesecake

Double Gold Medal

Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. 

Arizona Wagyu Slider, Duck Fat Rosemary Fries

Cafe Lalibela

Red Lentils and Cabbage, Chicken and Yellow Split Peas


Duroc Pork Tomahawk with Huitlacoche Chiltepin Mole

Tia Carmen

Tuna Tostada, Vanilla Flan

Gold Medal and Heritage Food Medal

The Rez: An Urban Eatery 

Chocolate Mole Tamale, Jackfruit Taco on Fresh Blue Corn Tortilla

Gold Medal

Chula Seafood 

Dry Aged Fish

JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa

Paella Royale, Charred Octopus

Silver Medal

Board + Batten

Campo Italian Bistro


Clever Koi

Dahl Restaurant Group

Frites Street


Litchfield’s at the Wigwam

Lom Wong

Poolboy Taco

Roka Akor

Renata’s Hearth

Rough Rider


Sonoran Pasta Bar

The Gladly/Citizen Public House


Bronze Medal

Aioli Gourmet Burger

Canal Club

Fellow Osteria



Lylo Swim Club

Ocean Prime

Phoenician Tavern

Phoenix Culinary Collective


PV Pie and Wine

Renaissance Phoenix: Dust Cutter

The Peppermill


The esteemed Devour judges

Stephanie Burnette

South Carolina-based writer, culinary instructor and ICS World Chili Cookoff judge

Stephanie Burnette is a food and travel writer in the Carolinas and covers the southeast. She writes for Eater, Thrillist, Town, atHome, SC Department of Agriculture, as well as for multiple visitors guides each year. Her background includes culinary instruction at The John C. Campbell Folk School and 400+ recipes for Gannett. She is the author of the upcoming 100 Things to Do in Greenville Before You Die, by Reedy Press. She’s judged the ICS World Chili Cookoff and the Great American Burger Contest but says her two teenagers are the best critics she knows.

Katherine Chew Hamilton 

Freelance food and beverage writer, restaurant critic, and editor. She most recently worked as the food editor of Portland Monthly magazine, where she reviewed restaurants, reported on restaurant openings and closings, and highlighted up-and-coming pop-ups and food carts. Previously, she was the food critic at the East Bay Express in Oakland. Favorite bites and sips include handmade noodles, tacos, Dungeness crab, and Willamette Valley wine.

Natasha Pickowicz

New York City–based chef, writer and three-time James Beard Foundation Award finalist.

Much of her pastry work explores the relationship between baking and social justice, including ongoing collaborations with seminal New York City institutions like Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, God’s Love We Deliver, the Brigid Alliance, and Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, for whom she produced a massive city-wide bake sale, raising more than $150,000 between 2017 and 2019.

Currently, Pickowicz runs the pastry pop-up called Never Ending Taste, which has been held at NYC’s Superiority Burger, Brooklyn’s the Four Horsemen, the American-Vietnamese bakery Ba. n B., the Taiwanese tearoom T. Company, Los Angeles’s Kismet, and the legendary Chino Farm in Rancho Santa Fe, California.

Pickowicz’s recipes and writing have been published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Bon Appetit, Saveur, Food & Wine, New York magazine, Cherry Bombe, and many other publications. Follow her on Instagram at @natashapickowicz.

José R. Ralat

José R. Ralat is Texas Monthly’s taco editor, for which he writes about Mexican food and food culture. He is also the author of “American Tacos: A History & Guide.” Ralat has written for Eater, Imbibe, D Magazine, Vice, Gravy, and other national and regional online and print media outlets. He is a two-time James Beard Foundation media award winner. Ice cream might just be his one true love.

Howard Seftel

Howard Seftel was a Valley restaurant critic from 1992 to 2015, the first eight years at Phoenix New Times, then 15 years at the Arizona Republic. During that time, he dined out — anonymously — more than 5000 times, and served as a James Beard Award judge.

A native New Yorker, he worked abroad for five years, in West Africa and the Middle East, and later taught American history at the University of California, Berkeley and Antioch University.

These days, when he is not eating out, he’s likely to be at a baseball game, playing the piano, reading history or hitting the road to visit far-away children and grandchildren.