James Fox of Bootleggers on the Barbecue Trend in Phoenix

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lauren Saria
James Fox, executive chef of Bootleggers
James Fox
Executive Chef
Bootleggers (Phoenix, Scottsdale)
www.bootleggersaz.com

It's taken a while, but if you're a fan of slow-smoked barbecue, then you're probably already aware that we have a solid selection of 'cue joints in this town. There are the standby options like Bryan's Black Mountain BBQ in Cave Creek, but also newcomers to the scene, including Bootleggers, a "modern American smokehouse" that opened its first location in North Phoenix about a year ago.

You could say that Bootleggers was the first sign that Phoenix might be on the right track to joining the list of cities across the country currently experiencing a revival in interest for barbecued meats. And now with the restaurant's second location open in Scottsdale, we're pretty confident in saying that we're well on our way.


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Jay and Christine Wisniewski of Caffe Boa Think You Should Be Drinking All-Natural Wine

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lauren Saria
Jay and Christine Wisniewski, the couple behind Tempe's Caffe Boa.
Jay and Christine Wisniewski
Owners
Caffe Boa on Mill
www.cafeboa.com

There are two Caffe Boas in this town and unless you've been here for a while, the history might be a little fuzzy. They both claim to be the "original" restaurant but if there's one undeniable fact in their complicated histories, it's that the restaurant on Mill Avenue opened in 1994 -- though at a different location then where it sits now -- while the Ahwatukee iteration opened in 1995.

Jay and Christine Wisniewski are the couple behind the 20-year-old Caffe Boa in Tempe and as they tell it, Ahwatukee owner Scott Rennard is a former business partner and friend with whom things went sour. The couple split ways with Rennard but sold him the rights to the Caffe Boa name for use at the Ahwatukee location only. And ever since, the two restaurants have had nothing in common except their monikers.


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Joe Absolor of Clever Koi in Phoenix: "I'm Having to Hold Back a Little Bit."

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lauren Saria
Joe Absolor of the Clever Koi in Phoenix.
Joe Absolor
Chef, owner
Clever Koi
www.thecleverkoi.com

You might already have heard the story behind the other half of Clever Koi's culinary team. Chef Jared Porter, formerly executive chef of The Parlor, has been in the business since age 15. He won a full ride to culinary school at the Art Institute of Phoenix and has had gigs in well-known kitchens such as Vincent on Camelback, Michael's at the Citadel, and LGO.

But a lot less known about Porter's co-chef at the sleek, modern restaurant, which opened in December. And it's partially because Joe Absolor hasn't been in the kitchen for all that long.


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Jason Grossmiller of Arizona Distilling Company on SB 1397: "It's a Shame."

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Evie Carpenter
Jason Grossmiller of Arizona Distilling Company in Tempe.
Jason Grossmiller
Co-Owner, Distiller
Arizona Distilling Company
azdistilling.com

Arizona Distilling Company seems to be making a habit of blazing trails for the state's fledgling micro-distilling scene. When it released Copper City Bourbon last June, it was the first legally distilled spirit made in the state since Prohibition. And with its Desert Durum Wheat Whiskey just last month, Arizona Distilling put forth the state's first ever grain-to-bottle spirit.


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Chris Collins of Grassroots Kitchen and Tap: "Enjoy What You Do or Don't Do It at All"

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lauren Saria
Chris Collins, owner of Grassroots Kitchen and Tap.
Chris Collins
Chef/owner
Grassroots Kitchen and Tap (Phoenix, Scottsdale)
www.grassrootsaz.com

"I can't paint you a picture. I can't play the guitar. But I can run a really, really great restaurant."

For Grassroots Kitchen and Tap owner and chef Chris Collins, the restaurant industry is more than a business, it's a family affair. As son of Wally Collins -- the man behind Wally's American Pub 'n Grill -- Collins grew up working in his father's restaurants, learning at an early age about the value of creating a friendly, neighborhood restaurant.


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Perry Rea of Queen Creek Olive Mill on What Makes Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil Good

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Evie Carpenter
Perry Rea, owner of Queen Creek Olive Mill on the mills patio.
This is part two of our interview with Perry Rea, owner of Queen Creek Olive Mill. Today, the certified olive oil sommelier explains the differences between good and bad extra virgin olive oil and gives us advice on how pick good oil. If you missed part one, in which we learned how the mill makes Arizona's only EVOO, you can read it here.

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Perry Rea of Queen Creek Olive Mill on How to Make Arizona's Only Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Evie Carpenter
Perry Rea, owner of Queen Creek Olive Mill.
Perry Rea
Owner, Master Mixer
Queen Creek Olive Mill
25062 S. Meridian Road, Queen Creek
480-888-9290
www.queencreekolivemill.com

This week in Chef and Tell we headed out to Queen Creek to find out how to make extra virgin olive oil. Since 1998, Queek Creek Olive Mill has been making EVOO right here in Arizona, and that's in no small part thanks to Perry Rea, the mill's owner and master mixer -- which means he's the guy responsible for making sure the oil tastes the same from batch to batch and harvest to harvest. Be sure to come back for part two of the interview Wednesday when he tells us how to shop for true EVOO.


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Adam Brown of Noca in Phoenix: "This Has Always Been Home"

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Evie Carpenter
Adam Brown of Noca
This is part two of our interview with Adam Brown, the executive chef of Noca in Phoenix. Brown's been in charge of things since the restaurant resumed dinner services last month, after a months-long hiatus that began when the previous chef stepped down. On Tuesday, we heard from Brown and the restaurant's owner, Eliot Wexler, and today we're back to learn more about the chef and how he'll put his own stamp on the Noca menu.

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Adam Brown of Noca in Phoenix on Chris Curtiss and the "Gluten Intolerance" Trend

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Evie Carpenter
Chef Adam Brown of Noca
Adam Brown
Executive Chef
Noca
restaurantnoca.com

This is part one of our interview with Adam Brown, the new executive chef of Noca in Phoenix. Brown, a former Noca sous-chef, was named executive chef in late January, taking the job that had been vacant since mid-2013 when former chef Claudio Urciuoli stepped down to pursue baking. Today, we hear from both Brown and Noca owner Eliot Wexler. And don't forget to come back for part two on Wednesday.


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Steve Kraus of Press Coffee Roastery Takes Us Through a Coffee "Cupping"

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Evie Carpenter
Steve Kraus of Press Coffee
This is part two of our interview with Press Coffee owner Steve Kraus. Today, he's taking us through our first coffee "cupping," a process similar to a wine tasting -- except with a lot more slurping. On Monday, we chatted about coffee as an agricultural product and found out why cuppings are so important for roasters when selecting coffee beans. If you missed that part of the interview, you can read it here.

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