12: Dave Johnson

Categories: Chow Bella

dave johnson tastemaker.jpg
Photo courtesy of Dave Johnson
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 truly grape man.

Tastemaker 12; Dave Johnson

See also: Wine Somm Dave Johnson Takes Managerial Position at Davanti Enoteca and Ponders the Demise of the Sommelier
See also: Tastemaker No. 21 Peter DeRuvo

Dave Johnson is a native New Mexican who worked as a cowboy until adulthood. After a brief military career, he ended up in a new career category: hospitality, specifically wine. These days Dave is a sommelier and currently works as an assistant general manager at Davanti Enoteca with chef Peter DeRuvo.

I arrived in Phoenix with... a great deal of relief. I had the great displeasure of spending a year in the Old Pueblo (when I moved to Arizona from San Fran). It was one of the most miserable periods in my life. I was stuck in a boring, provincial, and unimaginative quagmire. I had two cars stolen in the span of six months. I was surrounded by moronic and sophomoric co-workers at my job as a sommelier at a new prime steakhouse. Once I exhausted all the museums and dive bars in Tucson, it was time to bolt north. I have nicknamed Tucson, "Whoville" - and this Grinch had no time for Whoville. Phoenix for me was a Godsend, and I rose from the ashes here. I met my wife, and things turned around for me here. I have enjoyed my life here in Phoenix!

If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... Thomas Jefferson, Rabbie Burns, François Vatel, Jean-Louis Palladin, and my grandpa, Talmage Johnson. It would be a fine and festive meal fit for warriors, poets, and statesmen. I would decant claret with Mr. Jefferson. Mr. Burns would decant the single malts, while regaling us with wit. MM. Vatel and Palladin would prepare a stellar meal, while fighting in a tenacious Gallic fashion. My granddad, Tal, would say grace and argue literature, religion, and politics with all in attendance, as he was always prone to do.

One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... Cornish Pasty Company. You can get great sushi, steak, and Mexican food in most major cities you visit. There is inherently nothing unique about many fine restaurants in our town other than great food. Pasties (the British Empanada) were the fuel that filled the bellies of Welsh and Cornish miners from Bisbee to the Anaconda mine. It took a sensible and thoughtful man like Dean from Cornwall to show us what a heritage food in our state is truly. Geez, have you had his lamb vindaloo pasty? It is zaftig, delish, and soulful.

One menu item this city could do without... is buttery flabby California Chardonnay that is less appealing than squeezing a bottle of Parkay liquid margarine into your mouth.

My last meal in Phoenix would be... a simple carnitas burrito with salsa verde and a large to-go cup of Agua de jamaica from a drive-thru. Why complicate things? ...simple is good and Sonoran Comida Deluxe perfectly encompasses my life in Phoenix.

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
23: Gabriele Bertaccini
22: Claudio Urciuoli
21: Peter DeRuvo
20: Natalie Morris
19: Eliot Wexler
18: Sam Fox
17: Bryan Dooley
16: Bernie Kantak
15: Jim Cerreta Sr.
14: Josh Hebert
13: Michael Brown

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Location Info

Davanti Enoteca - CLOSED

6316 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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