23: Gabriele Bertaccini

Categories: Chow Bella

Gabriele Bertaccini tastemaker.jpg
Photo courtesy of Gabriele Bertaccini
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 creates a little mischief every once in a while.

Tastemaker 23: Gabriele Bertaccini

See also: BACCHUS MISCHiEF Debuts at After Hours Gallery

Born in Florence, Italy, and inspired by his family's love for food and his native land, Gabriele Bertaccini discovered his passion for cooking as a young boy. He attended a five-year program at the prestigious Instituto Professionale Buontalenti per Servizi Alberghieri in Florence, where he graduated with a specialty in regional Italian cuisine and specialized in Tuscan cooking. Bertaccini currently lives between Los Angeles and Phoenix, where he is executive chef and founder of iL TOCCO, a private dining-experiences company focused on creating and providing personalized culinary events, and organizes and directs the award-winning CULINARY MISCHiEF, Arizona's first invitation-only underground roving event.

I arrived in Phoenix with... a Pecorino cheese wheel in my suitcase. Jokes aside (and, no, it wasn't a joke...), I arrived in sunny Arizona six years ago with a dream of exporting the Italian 'Dolce Vita' to Phoenix and re-introducing the importance food has in our lives when it comes to create memories and experiencing life fully. I am glad I did.

If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... my five dream dining companions? Two of them are already dead: Dante Alighieri (do I need any introduction here?!) and Pellegrino Artusi, the first author who established a truly Italian cuisine in 1891 with his famous Italian cookbook The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well. However, I might still have a chance with Roberto Benigni, Academy Award-winning Italian actor and fellow Florentine, Dario Cecchini, a friend and butcher at 'Antica Macelleria Cecchini' in Chianti, and Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food movement.

One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... one? Can we at least do a couple? Without any doubt, Barrio Cafe by friend and talented Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza. Her cuisine is truly the essence of modern Mexican cookery. But I can't leave out FnB, where the Pavle/Charleen duo makes every evening unforgettable. Oh, and I don't want to forget Andreoli by my 'amico' Giovanni!

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

My last meal in Phoenix would be... at my house, with lots of friends and countless bottles of Sangiovese. Cin Cin my friends.

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
38: Charleen Badman
37: Damon Brasch
36: Dwayne Allen
35: Jason Asher
34: Pamela Hamilton
33: Victoria Chavez
32: Giovanni Scorzo
31: Tim Wilson
30: Travis Nass
29: Jason Alford
28: Clint Spotleson
27: Daniel Wayne
26: Korina Adkins
25: Carla Wade Logan
24: Jeff Zimmerman

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Location Info

Barrio Cafe

2814 N. 16th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

FnB Restaurant

7125 E. 5th Ave., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Andreoli Italian Grocer

8880 E. Via Linda, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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