76: Anthony Patafio
From now 'til we publish the 2012 edition of Best of Phoenix, New Times and Chow Bella present 100 Tastemakers -- Valley residents who make the cut in our culinary scene. Some you'll know; for others, it'll be a first introduction (but likely not the last). While you're here, check out our 100 Creatives on Jackalope Ranch.
Today: a guy who won't stand for bad Mexican food.
Tastemaker 76: Anthony Patafio
Born in New York, Chef Anthony Patafio has worked all over the United States and the Caribbean, including such renowned kitchens as the Plaza in New York City, Four Seasons Hotels and other resorts in Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Nevis, West Indies, and Scottsdale. He currently works with the Eat Well Drink a Lot restaurant group, which is involved with The Lodge, Mabel's on Main and Praying Monk.
I arrived in Phoenix with... two dollars and a banjo. No, just kidding. I flew in from Philadelphia on Halloween night in 1999 to open the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale. I had no idea what to expect from Phoenix and the food trends here. Having worked in large cities (Philadelphia, New York, Chicago), I thought that no matter what food I created out here, it would be a hit. Well, I was wrong. The cuisine that worked back east seemed to be almost foreign to the diners out here. It was a learning process on both sides of the plate. I needed to learn what was acceptable to Phoenicians and at the same time gently introduce them to new and exciting flavors.
If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... Oh, gosh, this is a hard one. So many people I would love to dine with, both those I've never met and old friends as well. Let's see,
Anthony Bourdain, his knowledge of food and dry sense of humor is great. He would be a must at any dream dinner. Both of us being New York boys and around the same age, we would have so many stories in common.
Beau MacMillan, he is a great friend and his knowledge of food does not need to be stated, but he also has such a great personality and also a huge presence and terrific sense of humor.
Aaron May, aside from being one of my best friends and the best man in my wedding, his acid humor and quick wit is second to none. He not only possesses great food knowledge but can also converse on any, and I mean any, subject that may come up at a dream dinner. Every time I go out with him my stomach muscles hurt for days afterwards. He is probably the funniest person I know.
Vince Vaughn, I am not really sure of his food knowledge, but he would be another guest that would add to the fun and light-hearted atmosphere of the evening. Besides, I'll need some help keeping up with my first three guests.
Melissa Patafio, because every dream dinner needs a queen in attendance. Not only is my wife strikingly beautiful, but she also possesses a great sense of humor. She is the only woman I know that would not be intimidated to be on this guest list and also be able to hold her own amongst them. She truly is my best friend and we always have great adventures together making for lasting memories.
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