Awards and Honors

Mark Antonation a Finalist in Association of Food Journalist Awards

The Toro Pot at Swift's, a dish as unique as Mark Antonation's writing.
The Toro Pot at Swift's, a dish as unique as Mark Antonation's writing. Mark Antonation
Food & Drink editor Mark Antonation is a finalist in the American Food Journalists contest.

Antonation's first contributions to Westword were the comments he made on our Food & Drink posts, as "Mantonation." Those were so erudite and entertaining that we urged Antonation to start contributing stories (his missions included eating at every restaurant along Federal Boulevard and profiling each one in "A Federal Case"), then hired him as our full-time Food & Drink editor three years ago.

The scope of the AFJ Awards Competition has also expanded over the years. The first awards were handed out in 1987 and, according to the organization, "in the last thirty years, hundreds of judges have reviewed thousands of entries with one common goal: to recognize and perpetuate excellence in food journalism." Among the finalists this year are media outlets that didn't exist in 1987, such as Roads & Kingdoms, as well as magazines as venerable as The Atlantic, which was founded in 1857.

Antonation is a finalist in the Food Column category, along with Jenn Hall of Spoonful Magazine, Tamar Haspel of the Washington Post and Debbie Koenig of Weight Watchers magazine. His entry included three columns:
"The Toro Pot: a Diner Dish Unique to Denver," which described the evolution of a delicious mess of a meal; "How a Denver Food Truck Owner Became His Own Beef Supplier," detailing why Mestizos owner Jose Gonzalez co-founded DenCo Meats & Custom Cuts, a meat-processing facility in Deer Trail; and "Mandeeq African Restaurant Serves Food from a Country on Trump's Banned List," a profile of a small eatery in Aurora that serves foods typical of Somalia and the Muslim regions of bordering countries (including Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya).


The winners will be announced at the AFJ's annual convention in Phoenix in September. Our partner paper in that city, Phoenix New Times, is also a finalist in the Food Essay category for Patricia Escárcega's "Mother’s Milk."

Find the complete list of finalists at afjonline.com.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun