PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It's a big year for Philadelphia chefs and restaurateurs, with six James Beard Award nominations in the city.
Chef Dionicio Jimenez, the owner of Cantina La Martina, is the city's only first-time nominee.
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He tells us he was surprised.
"I've worked in the city for so long and I've never been even nominated," he says.
"Now, being here in Kensington, and being nominated, is sort of surprising," he continued. "It's more than a good thing for the restaurant or for me, I think it's good for the neighborhood."
The Mexican-born restaurateur is nominated for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic.
Jimenez has more than 25 years of experience. He started his career in his hometown of Puebla, Mexico, and then went to some of the city's hottest restaurants.
He opened his own restaurant just last year.
"It's a dream because I come from a really small town," he says. "We've been farmers my whole life. This has been a dream come true. I don't want to wake up."
Jimenez is up against two other Philadelphia chefs for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic region: Jesse Ito of Royal Sushi and Chatatip 'Nok' Suntaranon of Kalaya.
The awards ceremony takes place on June 5 in Chicago.