44: Mark Fratu

Mark Fratu tastemaker.jpg
Ando Muneno
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.
Editor's Note: Mark Fratu was trained as an aerospace quality control inspector not as an aerospace engineer as we previously said.

Today: A man you'd never accuse of being a buzzkill.

Tastemaker 44: Mark Fratu

See also: Most Honey in the U.S. Isn't Honey at All, Food Safety News Reports

Mark Fratu grew up in communist Transylvania and was trained as an aerospace quality control inspector. He ended up in Chicago with next to nothing -- but he worked hard, saved his money, and eventually moved to Arizona, where he spun his meager fortunes into real estate investments. But the work left him empty and bored. So he went back to his roots. His dad was a beekeeper in Transylvania, and while the family business didn't interest him as a child, he found himself drawn to it later in life. He started with a single hive in 2004, but it wasn't until 2008, after he'd learned a great deal more about bees, that he transitioned to working with them full time. Now he keeps about 30 hives spread throughout Phoenix and sells his honey at farmers markets.

I arrived in Phoenix with... my wife.

If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... my wife, Jesus, David, Paul, Moses, and Solomon.

One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is.... honey.

One menu item this city could do without is... hotdogs.

My last meal in Phoenix would be... bread and butter with honey.

The Tastemakers so far:
100: Tracy Dempsey
99: Craig DeMarco
98: Lara Mulchay
97: M.J. Coe
96: Betty Alatorre de Hong
95: Eric Schaefer
94: Hanna Gabrielsson
93: Shinji Kurita
92: Silvana Salcido Esparza
91: Mike Pitt
90: Christina Barrueta
89: Christopher Gross
88: Jan Wichayanuparp and Helen Yung
87: DJ Fernandes
86: Cullen Campbell
85: Chris Lee
84. Gwen Ashley Walters
83: Tony Morales
82: Lylah Ledner
81: Andrea White
80: Lori Hashimoto
79. Mrs. White
78: Eugenia Theodosopolous
77: Lou & Lovey Borenstein
76: Anthony Patafio
75: Carl Seacat
74: Sacha Levine
73: Sharon Salomon
72: Johnny Chu
71: Susie Timm
70: Jason Silberschlag
69: Gina Miller
68: Cindy Gentry
67: Amy Binkley
66: Dave Anderson
65: Mark Tarbell
64: Marianne Belardi
63: Audrey Lasalle
62: Brandon Gauthier
61: Brad and Kat Moore
60: Denise Clayton
59: Nobuo Fukuda
58: Richie Moe
57: Robin Trick
56: Alberto Della Casa and Letizia de Lucia
55: Farah Khalid
54: Dave Andrea
53: Vincent Guerithault
52: Danielle Leoni
51: Stan Zawatski
50: Maya Dailey
target="_blank">49: Duc Liao
48: Lisa Reinhardt
47: Isam Saed
46: Greg Peterson
45: Marco Bianco

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