Natalie Morris on Giving Up Good Food Finder and Her Upcoming Bean Book

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Courtesy of Natalie Morris
Natalie Morris
Professor
Sustainable Food Systems program at Mesa Community College
nataliermorris.com

To those in the local food community, particularly those with an interest in sustainable food, the name Natalie Morris should be a familiar one. The trained chef turned entrepreneur created Good Food Finder, an online directory that identifies and locates local food producers around the state.

Morris started that project in 2011 after receiving a fellowship grant from the University of Arizona's Borderlands Food and Water Security program at the Southwest Center. She spent years gathering information from all over the state and putting it in an easy-to-use online form, but in October of this year made the decision to turn the project over to Local First Arizona.

"I sort of had to admit to myself that I needed to send my kid off to college," Morris says of the decision.


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Luis Milan of Sol Diablo Cantina in Tempe on College Avenue and the Best Taco Ever

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lauren Saria
Luis Milan
Chef, owner
Sol Diablo Cantina
560 S. College Ave., Tempe
www.soldiablocantinatempe.com

If you haven't been down on College Avenue in Tempe lately, you might be in for a surprise. What was once a fairly quiet corner of the Arizona State University campus has recently become a hub of activity; this is where you'll find the school's giant new bookstore and a handful of new local restaurants including Postino from powerhouse restaurant group Upward Projects and the Valley's second location of Snooze, based in Denver.

This is also where you'll find Sol Diablo Cantina, a taqueria and tequila bar from chef Luis Milan.

"This was just supposed to be a small project I wanted to do," says the chef.

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5 Favorite Chef and Tells of 2014

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lauren Saria
BJ Hernandez of Havana Patio Cafe
Betty-Jane Hernandez of Havana Patio Cafe: "You Just Have to Roll with the Punches"

In 1991, when Betty-Jane (BJ) and Gilbert Hernandez opened Havana Cafe in a space just off Camelback Road, you couldn't even get chorizo or black beans in this town. You could smoke inside restaurant dining rooms (in fact, Havana Cafe eventually became the first non-smoking restaurant in the city) and very few people knew what Cuban food was all about.

Over the last two decades, little Havana Cafe has helped shape diners' understanding of the Caribbean island's cuisine. Or at least, they did until earlier this year when their building was sold to be razed and turned into a new restaurant from LGO Hospitality. The new concept will be the company's fourth in the bursting Arcadia dining scene.

"It's like the Foxs and the LGOs are having a turf war," Hernandez laughs.

Read full story

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Brian Archibald of The Graduate Tempe on Opening Restaurants and What He Missed About Phoenix

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lauren Saria
Brian Archibald
Executive Chef
Tapacubo, The Normal Diner
Graduate Tempe
graduatetempe.com/dining

With the arrival of the Graduate Tempe one of the prime properties around the Arizona State University campus will finally be used to its full potential. The new boutique hotel is one of the first to come from a new brand that's targeting city schools and their guests - potential students, alumni, visiting parents - by taking over older hotels and turning them into retro-chic accommodations. In this case, that means saying good-bye to the Twin Palms Hotel.

"It was in bad shape," says Graduate Tempe Executive Chef Brian Archibald. "The city was glad to have us take it over."

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Tomaso Maggiore of Tomaso's and Vivo Ristorante on What Makes a Restaurant Last

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lauren Saria
Tomaso Maggiore at Vivo Ristorante.
Tomaso Maggiore
Owner, Executive chef
Tomaso's
www.tomasos.com
Vivo Ristorante
www.vivoaz.com

Tomaso Maggiore opened his 12th Valley restaurant, a shiny new Italian spot, in a trendy Scottsdale strip mall earlier this fall. But while the restaurant, with its more affordable menu and relaxed atmosphere, fits well in current times, its owner longs for the days of tuxedoed waiters and salads tossed tableside.

"Young people, frankly, I feel bad for you guys," Maggiore says in a pleasant Italian accent. "Your dining is not what it used to be when I was your age. You know, it was wonderful, dressing up, going to dinner, the servers, a wonderful bottle of wine. You guys don't go for that stuff anymore. Why is that?"


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Amy Bouzaglo of Amy's Baking Company on Bad Publicity, Bullies, and the Best (and Worst) Thing About Owning a Restaurant

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Coutesy of Amy Bouzaglo
Amy Bouzaglo
Chef, owner
Amy's Baking Company
7366 E. Shea Blvd, Scottsdale
amys-baking-company.myshopify.com

In the back corner of an unremarkable Scottsdale strip mall there's a quaint and extremely tidy restaurant owned by a married couple.

The wife, a blonde who considers herself an Arizona native, runs the back of the house. The husband, an immigrant who came to this country 14 years ago, oversees the front of house operations.

They've been serving simple food and desserts from their restaurant for the last eight years. The wife, who has experience in interior design, decorated the black and white restaurant. She says she even put the Venetian plaster on the walls herself.

If you didn't know their names were Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, this couple would be easy to like at best and unexceptional at worst. Unfortunately, chances are slim that you don't already know who they are.

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Jeffrey Amber of Forge Pizza on Costco Pizza and Differences Between Phoenix and The Bay

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lauren Saria
Jeffrey Amber
Executive Chef
Forge Pizza
2502 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
www.theforgepizza.com

"I want it to be a pizza party," says chef Jeffrey Amber of the three-week-old Forge Pizza Phoenix. "I want it to be fun."

The 1,500 square foot eatery is the third Forge Pizza location to come from the Le Bon Temps Restaurants team, which consists of Michael Karp, Bob Burke, and Phoenix-based architect Andy Byrnes. This newest location is much smaller than the flagship restaurant located at on the waterfront of Jack London Square in Oakland. Amber describes that 4,800 square foot restaurant as "huge," "rockin'," and "loud" and though they're tight on space here, the chef says he aimes to bring that same feel and spirit to the Biltmore Fashion Park.

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Tom Harvey of Cuff in Glendale: "I Loved the Industry Long Before I Loved to Cook"

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lauren Saria
Tom Harvey
Executive Chef
Cuff
5819 W Glendale Drive, Glendale
www.cuffdowntown.com

It might surprise you to hear that Tom Harvey, a former executive chef at Eddie V's in Scottsdale, chose to leave his comfortable, cushy corporate gig to help open an independent restaurant in downtown Glendale. But Harvey and business partner David Chang believe in the West Valley neighborhood.

'This community, it gives success to restaurants that really hard," Harvey says.

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Gabriele Bertaccini of iL Tocco Food: "Life Is About Beautiful Things"

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Courtesy of Gabriele Bertaccini
Gabriele Bertaccini
Owner, Executive chef
il Tocco Food
www.iltoccofood.com

Gabriele Bertaccini looks more like an Italian clothing model than a hardworking, ├╝ber successful chef. But if you get him talking about cooking, dining, and Italian cuisine, it becomes immediately clear that he's much more than just a handsome face and an exceptionally well-tailored suit. He waxes poetic about the beauty of sunsets, the sensual side of dining, and his passion for bringing a taste of his Italian homeland to his guests in a way that's nothing short of inspirational.

This fall the chef's underground dining series, Culinary Mischief, will enter its fifth season and already the first event has been met with overwhelming success. Within three hours of opening reservations for the exclusive dining event, Bertaccini received more than 225 responses.


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Stephen Eldridge of Pink Pony: "I Think We're Moving in the Right Direction"

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lauren Saria
Stephen Eldridge
Executive Chef
Pink Pony
3831 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
www.pinkponyscottsdale.com /www.facebook.com/pinkponyscottsdale

You can't talk about dining in Old Town Scottsdale without mentioning the Pink Pony. After all, the steak house has been a part of the restaurant scene since for more than 60 years.

You can imagine that means there's a lot of history there, history that for the most part revolves around the restaurant's role as a gathering place during spring training. Over the years the restaurant has served a star-studded laundry list of baseball players. And their fans.


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