38: Charleen Badman

Categories: Chow Bella

Charleen Badman tastemaker.jpg
Photo courtesy of FnB
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 woman who needs no introduction.

Tastemaker 38: Charleen Badman

See also: Pavle Milic's Quest to Make Wine: A Quixotic Exploit?
See also: Baratin: Casual Complement to FnB and Simply Stellar Locally Focused Food
See also: Charleen Badman of FnB (Chef Chat and Behind the Bar)

Known for her impeccable talent for turning some of our least favorite veggies into mouthwatering culinary masterpieces, Charleen Badman takes dedication to local and fresh to a whole new level (she's even got a leek tattooed on her arm).

Although she's been recognized in the national arena by Food & Wine, Badman's more accustomed to a smaller stage: the open kitchen at FnB. She's moved to the Big Apple and back, helped feed schoolchildren healthy lunches, brought inspiration to Ignite Food, and made the Valley a happier place to eat.

I arrived in Phoenix with... my brother and sister in 1992 to open Cafe Terra Cotta. (That was the first time.) Round two was 5 years ago when I moved back from New York after being there for 12 years.

If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... people I am comfortable with: Pavle, my business partner and spokesmodel; Anne Rosenzweig, my mentor, friend and business partner from New York; [former New Times food critic] Michele Laudig -- I love going out to eat with her; Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, my really good friends who love food and write great culinary books, including What to Eat with What You Drink and Becoming a Chef. And, we would eat at Roberta's in Brooklyn.

One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... Pizzeria Bianco. It is always the place I take my friends visiting from New York. It's simple, straightforward, and market-driven.

One menu item this city could do without is... all that bacon. I love cooking with it, but everyone else had to jump the shark and use it, too.

My last meal in Phoenix would be... for breakfast, an almond croissant at Essence Bakery. For lunch, I would have chips, salsa, and a Sophie's Salad from Main Ingredient. For dinner, Hana Japanese. I had my 40th birthday there, and she made the best vegetables. I rarely do eat out, and I really want to keep it simple.

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
44: Mark Fratu
43: Wendell Crow
42. Barb Harris
41: Michael Perry
40: Jeff Kraus
39: Ryan Avery

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Location Info

FnB Restaurant

7125 E. 5th Ave., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Pizzeria Bianco

623 E. Adams St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Essence Bakery Cafe

825 W. University Drive, Tempe, AZ

Category: Restaurant

The Main Ingredient Ale House

2337 N. 7th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Hana Japanese Eatery

5524 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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jmoriarty like.author.displayName 1 Like

There was no way Charlene could NOT be on this list. She's an amazing lady and an incredible culinary asset to this little Valley of ours.


 @jmoriarty Jeff, thanks for your kind words. I know the lady well, and aside from her culinary prowess...she's the kindest, nicest, hardest working person I know. I'm lucky to work by her side.

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