Chef Renetto-Mario Etsitty of Tertio Winebar Tells the Story of Hunger and Defines Fry Bread

Categories: Chef and Tell

Lauren Saria
Chef Renetto-Mario Etsitty and owner/chef Virginia Senior of Tertio
This is part two of our interview with Chef Renetto-Mario Etsitty of Tertio in Phoenix. Today he tells the Navajo story of hunger, shares his favorite childhood cooking memory and gives his not-so-gentle thoughts on cilantro. If you missed the first part of this week's Chef and Tell in which he explained how he got started hosting monthly First Friday feasts for local artists and community members, you can read it here.

See also:
- Fry Bread: Bringing Arizona's Native Cuisine Into The Future
- 6 Favorite Spots for Fry Bread Around Metro Phoenix

One dish to sum up your cooking style: Paella, a rustic Valencian rice dish that is slowly cooked over an open fire with a variety of ingredients including meats, veggies, and saffron. A dish often shared with friends on a dazzling night under the stars.

Where does your inspiration come from?: My grandmother provided me with many lessons to survive in this world. She has given me the tools to transcend the boundary of the Diné homeworld, to be culturally ambidextrous and innovative, all for the love of family and community.

Favorite thing about the Phoenix food scene: That there isn't one, or to say that the food scene itself is unmolded, thereby being pliable. That there is opportunity to foster the food scape with our cultural and ethnic diversity.

One thing most people don't know about you: I'm a multimedia artist, with an emphasis in drawing and sculpture. Currently, I have drawings displayed at the Phoenix Ice House.

If you could travel anywhere in the world it would be to: Truly, everywhere. In October 2012 I attended the Salone del Gusto & Terra Madre in Turin, Italy, and now I wish to visit as much of the world as possible and explore the local, native cuisines at their sources. A lot of my interplay with flavors and ingredients is an extension of this desire.

What are you currently reading/watching:

Reading -- A Magic Dwells, a poetic and psychological study of the Navajo emergence by Sheila Moon. A book that evaluates the beauty of the Diné origins in slight comparison to Christian mythology and others.

Watching -- The Snow Walker, a beautiful film about the survival of a maverick white guy and a traditional young Inuit woman. Almost anthropological, the story isn't too sentimental in showing the merging of two worlds finding the will, respect, and cooperation in a disparate struggle to survive.

Lauren Saria

Location Info


Tertio Wine Bar

3508 N. 7th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

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Denise Atkins
Denise Atkins

Lovely. Renetto-Mario Etsitty Speaks so beautifully about so many things.

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