Tastemaker No. 1

Categories: Chow Bella

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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 we introduce our final tastemaker. Aren't you dying to know who it is?! Here's a hint: We have yet to hear even the pickiest food snob among you offer anything but rave review's for this Tastemaker's restaurant.

See also:
- The Tastemaker 2012 Archives

Nick Rocha tastemaker.jpg
Lauren Saria
Nick Rocha makes soba noodles in the kitchen at Cafe Ga Hyang

Tastemaker 1: Nick Rocha

If you've been paying attention, you may already have heard of this little spot with "a lotta Seoul."

Co-owners Nick Rocha and Sun Johnson met while working at a Korean restaurant in the West Valley. Since then, they've opened up their own place (just up the street) called Café Ga Hyang. Rocha, a true Phoenician, says he always enjoyed cooking and learned to make authentic dishes like bibim bap and handmake soba noodles during his years of experience in the kitchen. At their small slice of Koreatown, you'll find Rocha and Johnson working as cooks, owners, managers - and everything in between.

I arrived in Phoenix with... I was born here.

If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be...

  • Marvin Gaye
  • My grandmother
  • One more dinner with "the one that got away"
  • The most whiny customer I have here, because I would love to know what's going on in their mind.
  • The President

One place everyone in Phoenix must eat is... my place.

One menu item this city could do without is... lettuce on your burger. It doesn't add anything except color.

My last meal in Phoenix would be... at home.

The Tastemakers so far:

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My Voice Nation Help

Awesome pick!  Cafe Ga Hyang is literally a hole-in-the-wall type of place in an almost abandoned strip mall.  No one would think to find good eats here but I went three times last week and everything I've had was awesome!


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