Sam Fox, owner of the successful Fox Restaurant Concepts, talks with customers at his latest Phoenix venture, Flower Child, a fast-casual spinoff of the True Food Kitchen. The 46-year-old restaurateur is popularizing the concept of healthful, gourmet food across the U.S.

Ralph Freso / for the Arizona Daily Star

Arizona chefs and restaurants are no stranger to the James Beard Awards, with dozens of nominations over the years.

With six chefs and restaurants from the Grand Canyon State making this year's list of semifinalists, Arizona is slowly increasing its stake in the game, up two from last year's four nominees.

But several of this year's semifinalists have seen their names on this list before, and no doubt they're all wondering if this could be the year.

Sam Fox of Fox Restaurant Concepts- which has several Tucson locations- once again made the list for Outstanding Restaurateur, making this the 10th year in a row.

Although Pizzeria Bianco's Tucson location closed last year, we still have love for owner Chris Bianco, who has received his fourth consecutive nomination for Best Restaurant.

Even though Tucson isn't recognized (yet) as a hotspot of the professional culinary world, this isn't our town's first glimpse at the culinary world's highest honors. In 2000, chef Janos Wilder was named Best Chef Southwest.

Four other Arizona chefs made the list of semifinalists. Charleen Badman of FnB in Scottsdale, Silvana Salcido Esparza of Barrio Cafe, Barrio Urbano and Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva in Phoenix and Jeff Smedstad of Elote Cafe in Sedona were all nominated for Best Chef Southwest.

In a second appearance on this year's semifinal list, Scottsdale's FnB also earned a nomination for Outstanding Wine Program.

The list will be whittled down to final Restaurant and Chef Award nominees on March 15, and the awards will be handed out in April.

Check out the full list here.