29: Jason Alford

Jason alford tastemaker.jpg
Lauren Saria
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 takes his sushi very seriously.

Tastemaker 29: Jason Alford

See also: Chef Jason Alford of Roka Akor

From a small town in Oregon (a place where eating local is a way of life, not a culinary trend) to the Valley of the Sun comes chef Jason Alford, the mastermind at one of the Top 10 Sushi Spots in the United States according to Bon Appetit: Roka Akor. Behind the flaming robata grill you'll find Alford turning out creative renditions of traditional Japanese favorites and omakase menus to rival the best. Alford earned his chops under Scottsdale kitchen legend, Anton Brunbauer and has been minding the flames at Roka Akor since the restaurant opened in 2008.

I arrived in Phoenix with... all my belongings in one arm....and a phone number for a job.

If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... first and foremost, father and grandfather - both huge influences regarding my craft and education - and Junior Kimbrough, a blues guitarist and underrated for his time. Not the most prolific player but his style of play is almost hypnotizing. Then of course, Bourdain, for reasons I think every chef knows. To round it out George Carlin...I'm eating well, laughing my ass off, drinking heavily, laughing more and listening to some amazing blues....I think there is only one other thing I am missing to make life complete.

One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... Petite Maison. Consistency, food and service it's always stellar. Hats off to John and Dustin for the best service in the valley.

One menu item this city could do without is... over-processed 'food'. Enter an open kitchen, not only do you get interaction on a nightly basis with your guests, when they ask you where you eat, you get to refer them to the best restaurants in the Valley. Everyone in the industry here knows what everyone else is serving.... If I put my name out there I'm going to send them to the right place. Citizen, FnB, Nobou, Christopher's, Petite, The Parlor...it's all about education, right? Positive thing is, I like to think the list of great independent restaurants is growing.

My last meal in Phoenix would be... in my backyard, BBQ roaring. German, Mark, Cebian, Justin, Bret, EJ, White Guy, Ko-San and, of course, Porch. A good old fashion chef party where we over-serve and overeat, and B.S. until the sun comes up.


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

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Location Info

Roka Akor

7299 N. Scottsdale Road, Paradise Valley, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Petite Maison

7216 E. Shoeman Lane, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Citizen Public House

7111 E. 5th Ave. Ste. E., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

FnB Restaurant

7125 E. 5th Ave., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Nobuo at Teeter House

622 E. Adams St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Christopher's Restaurant and Crush Lounge

2502 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

The Parlor Pizzeria

1916 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant


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