Tastemaker No. 2

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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: A woman who does a latte for Phoenix.

See also:
- Tastemaker 2012 Archives

Ashley Ryder tastemaker copy.jpg
Lauren Saria

Tastemaker 2: Ashley Ryder

Ashley Ryder is Phoenix, born and raised and has worked at Starbucks for the last two years -- no-foaming and extra-whippping hundreds of lattes, cappuccinos and mochas every week. She currently studies Nutrition and Pre-Med at Arizona State University and would like to go to medical school and become an M.D.

"I have a feeling that I'll be the one they send for coffee runs in the hospital," she jokes.

I arrived in Phoenix with... my twin sister, wide-eyed with VIP passes for the NICU.

If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... the friends that I have made while living in Downtown Phoenix and my sister, it's always a party when we get together!

One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... Fajitas - A Sizzlin' Celebration! The fresh guacamole, flour tortillas made in front of you, and the sizzling fajita meat make for the perfect gatherings.

One menu item this city could do without is... saltwater seafood, as much as I love it... we are nowhere near an ocean.

My last meal in Phoenix would be... any home cooked meal with my family, as long as my dad grills steak.

The Tastemakers so far:


Location Info

Venue

Map

Fajitas A Sizzlin Celebration

9841 N. Black Canyon Highway, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Starbucks

455 N. 3rd St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
29 comments
guest1
guest1

How many of you go to a starbucks once a month? once a week? every day? Many of the  men and women who serve the drinks are tastemasters themselves. Ask them to make a special drink for you and give you advice on what blends are good together. They don't learn these out of a text book, but out of trying them for themselves. Go ahead, try it! I did and I don't regret it. Stop picking on the poor girl, she didn't apply for the position, but was nominated by Chow Bella. Her sense of humor is enlightening, I wish more people were like that. It surely makes it more fun to read, you cannot deny that!

Grapecorner
Grapecorner

I have thought this list was a joke for many years.  You all totally made idiots out of yourselves and this young lady.  Really, admitting to your lack of imagination and taste.  I agree the list is usually the same old same old.  This is the best we have?  And you promote local!? Shame on you all for trying to be cute, clever, controversial?  I think just plain bad journalism and bad taste.  Chow bella put a fork in it!

EATERAZ
EATERAZ

Is Chow Bella doing this just to warm people up to the idea that EATERAZ is number one? Smart, very smart.

pca2002002
pca2002002

Is today April 1?  I think you owe this young lady an apology for making her a laughingstock in her hometown.

zachgarcia
zachgarcia

A random Starbucks employee who has worked there for all of two years? Really Chow Bella? How did this happen? This is pretty bad... I can think of at least half a dozen people right now that should be on this list that didn't make it and should have been included:  Pavle Milic, Dominic Armato, Peter Kazimierz, Kevin, Binkley, Robert McGrath, James Porter, Aaron May... Those people I just listed have done more for the PHX food scene than just about most of the people included on the list...

bmcphx
bmcphx

The more I think about this the more I feel as though it HAS to be a joke. This can't be serious, right?

joel.latondress
joel.latondress

With Kevin Binkley and Pavle Milic still absent from the list, I can only hope this gal didn't bump either of those two.  C'mon, guys, be serious.

bmcphx
bmcphx

how is this an important person in the phoenix culinary world?

guest
guest

This is the biggest load of crap I've ever read.  How is some random ASU student who works at Starbucks a tastemaker?  She also seems to be an idiot, as she thinks we shouldn't have anything from the ocean just because we don't have a coastline.  The only reason I can think of that she's included is because someone at chowbella is trying to nail her, and thought this would help.  Can't wait to see #1, but how will you pick between the guy who makes fries at McDonalds and a Sandwich Artist at Subway?!

Mr.Smith
Mr.Smith

Sure seems like this series has "jumped the shark". #2 is some little girl who's a Starbucks employee. How is she a "tastemaker" worthy of being counted among the likes of folks who are actually inspiring (Charleen Badman, Josh Hebert, Claudio Urciuoli, Travis Nass, Nobuo Fukuda, Cindy Gentry etc.) and helping to raised the bar for dining in Phoenix? Maybe Chow Bella ran out of actual influential people to list and so threw in a random coffee server.

bmcphx
bmcphx

I *never* go to Starbucks. I support local businesses when it comes to coffee, and if they are out of the way or I don't have time, I'll pass three starbucks and continue my day without coffee.

SkilletDoux
SkilletDoux

 @Eric598 More, I suspect, that those who work the kind of roles in the Phoenix food scene that *don't* get accolades and attention are just as important to its growth and success, which is a completely true and noble sentiment.  I think the baggage that Starbucks carries may have confused the issue.

Ando_Muneno
Ando_Muneno moderator

Funny, we didn't laugh at her. But you did? Classy fellow/gal you are out there in anonymous internet land. 

bmcphx
bmcphx

Chris Bianco isn't on the list either, is he?

danivoss123
danivoss123

 @guest Hey, calm down and don't blame the student. If you're so accomplished and smart, you would realize that words and reasonings get cut out of interviews for reader purposes. Maybe she had a good reason to say "saltwater fish". Overfishing HAS become a problem all around the world. If you're going to lash out, have some respect and direct it towards the company as a whole. You don't know where she's come from or what she's been through so why put someone down when you don't even know her?

Ando_Muneno
Ando_Muneno moderator

 @Mr.Smith My apologies, I misread what you wrote. I still disagree but I can't accuse you of not having read our previous work. At the same time I'm sure Ms. Ryder just revels in the chance to be called "a little girl" by some anonymous twerp on the internet. I'm glad you managed to counterweight whatever your legitimate concerns were with a low personal attack against someone who's probably in whatever bubble you live in. 

bmcphx
bmcphx

It has nothing to do with Starbucks for me, but rather it is about someone not being in charge of anything. She's a corporate puppet for a large, and is at the lower rungs. To me, someone who is a "tastemaker" is someone who has left a culinary impact on the city using their own creativity and ideas, not someone who simply makes the coffee drink recipes that her company provided.

Ando_Muneno
Ando_Muneno moderator

 @SkilletDoux  @Eric598 

"The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."

 

-A Bunch of Different People, but I like Ann Landers so let's say that. 

EATERAZ
EATERAZ

 @Eric598  @EATERAZ No no no, our site is down because somebody tripped on the power cord and we're just too lazy to get up and plug it back in.

pca2002002
pca2002002

 @Ando_Muneno

 No, I didn't laugh at her, I felt bad for her because you set her up to be an object of derision.  It's the idea that ANY Starbucks barista would be more important to the Phoenix culinary scene than the people you listed below her (or left off the list altogether) that is laughable.  Face it, you guys screwed up.

Mr.Smith
Mr.Smith

@Ando_Muneno

Forgive my assumption of what a "Tastemaker" is or should be. Perhaps you could be kind enough to enlighten US on the virtues of what qualifies one as such. Defend your poor choice if you will, but I ask that not make the issue about the barista. As for me I in no way intended to offend anyone. My wish is that folks such as you would serve to elevate our food culture rather than patronize readers with such silliness. But then again it's just a wish.

zachgarcia
zachgarcia

 @Ando_Muneno  @Mr.Smith Ando - I don't think you're paying attention... Mr.Smith is asking the question as to how you can include a Starbucks employee on this list when there are *actual* influential people in our Food Community  (Charleen Badman, Josh Hebert, Claudio Urciuoli, Travis Nass, Nobuo Fukuda, Cindy Gentry etc.) who you recognized on the list... I don't think they needed you to relink. I assume the reader selected people from the list that he thought were actually influential...

EATERAZ
EATERAZ

 @Eric598 Wait, do you guys think Chow Bella did this because #1 is actually Everybody? Like that Time Magazine Person of the Year when it was "You"? If that's the case, we're totally cool with sharing the #1 spot. haha

golbsalt
golbsalt

 @zachgarcia  @joel.latondress  @bmcphx we couldn't agree more!  while we had *hoped* to make the list (seriously - who locally shares more with you about salt, how to use it to improve food and with food than we do) we knew that wasn't likely let alone fair when SO MANY great chefs from around the valley didn't make the list!  maybe the list could have been split into "Established" & "Up and Coming" - then less angst would have existed for those bothered by the inclusion of Tastemaker No. 1 in this years Top 100.

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