11: Chrysa Robertson

chyrsa robertson tastemaker.jpg
Hannah E. Williams
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 true iconoclast.

Tastemaker 11: Chrysa Robertson

See also: Chef Chrysa Robertson Barters with Customers for Mulberries, Pecans, Zucchini and More

See also: Carol Steele Tribute Dinner at Rancho Pinot: Menu Features C. Steele Classics and Asian Pear Belinis from Aravaipa Farms

Chrysa Robertson was raised in Arizona and trained primarily under the watchful eye of Carol Steele -- as one of C. Steele & Co.'s first and longest employees. After brief stints out of town, Robertson came home in 1993 to open Rancho Pinot Grill in its original location at Town & Country in Phoenix. Years ago she moved to the Paradise Valley/Scottsdale border and recently she dropped the "Grill" but Rancho Pinot remains one of the longest-running, highest-quality Arizona-inspired restaurants in town. And if you meet Robertson, we guarantee you won't soon forget her.

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12: Dave Johnson

dave johnson tastemaker.jpg
Photo courtesy of Dave Johnson
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 truly grape man.

Tastemaker 12; Dave Johnson

See also: Wine Somm Dave Johnson Takes Managerial Position at Davanti Enoteca and Ponders the Demise of the Sommelier
See also: Tastemaker No. 21 Peter DeRuvo

Dave Johnson is a native New Mexican who worked as a cowboy until adulthood. After a brief military career, he ended up in a new career category: hospitality, specifically wine. These days Dave is a sommelier and currently works as an assistant general manager at Davanti Enoteca with chef Peter DeRuvo.


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13: Michael Brown

Michael Brown tastemaker.jpg
Photo courtesy of Michael Brown
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 man on the move.

Tastemaker 13: Michael Brown

See also: Michael Brown of Jamburritos Cajun Grille Express
See also: Nine Food Trucks We Wish Would Road Trip to Phoenix

Born in 1962 to the Reverend John and Mildred Brown in Bellport, Long Island, where hunting and cooking went hand in hand, Michael J. Brown learned the art of cooking. At age 14 he got his first job as a dishwasher and short order cook at Colonial II Restaurant in Plainfield, New Jersey to help his family out with the bills. He remembers the day when his mother first saw him working was the day an angel of God spoke to him and said, "You will one day own a restaurant of your own." He now owns and operates Jamburritos Cajun Grille Express.


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14: Josh Hebert

Josh Herbert tastemaker.jpg
Nikki Buchanan
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 guy who's been very popular with his fellow Tastemakers.

Tastemaker 14: Josh Hebert

See also: Josh Hebert Makes Japanese Street Food for Late-Night Dining at Posh
See also: Chef Josh Hebert Dishes on Eric Ripert, Anthony Bourdain and the Cheat Ingredient

Joshua Hebert grew up cooking in Phoenix until the age of 21, at which point he moved to San Francisco. He accidentally ended up in Tokyo at the Miyako Hotel after four years in San Francisco, where he cooked for a year. Upon his return to town, he headed up several kitchens until finally opening POSH on New Year's Eve 2008.


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15: Jim Cerreta Sr.

Jim Cerreta Senior tastemaker.jpg
Photo courtesy of Candi Cerreta
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: The Candy Man

Tastemaker 15: Jim Cerreta Sr.

Jim Cerreta Senior is owner and founder of Cerreta's Candy Co. in the heart of downtown Glendale. He moved to the Valley from Canton, Ohio in June 1968 -- and recalls that it was 118 degrees that day. He remembers asking Tim Coyle, of Mary Coyle's, "When's it gonna cool down?" He said, "It doesn't."

Cerreta learned chocolate making at Ben Heggy's in Canton, and moved to Arizona start his own chocolate factory. He says it's one of the best decisions he ever made. He lives by the motto: He who makes no change will make no dollar.

And yet his candy is most definitely old school.

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16: Bernie Kantak

Bernie Kantak tastemaker.jpg
Photo courtesy of Bernie Kantak
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: That guy in the hat.

Tastemaker 16: Bernie Kantak

See also: Tastemaker Richie Moe

Bernie Kantak is chef and co-owner of Citizen Public House where he brings his Eastern European roots, prodigious imagination and playful approach to cooking to an "inventive-yet-familiar" menu, which offers dishes like bacon fat heirloom popcorn and grilled halloumi cheese on Serbian lepinja bread with roasted eggplant puree. Whatever the dish, Kantak says his message is always the same: "Let's have us some new-fashioned fun."

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17: Bryan Dooley

brian dooley tastemaker 2.jpg
Photo courtesy of Brian Dooley
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: The guy responsible for that awesome tomato sandwich.

Tastemaker 17: Bryan Dooley

See also: Bryan Dooley Dishes on His Favorite Food Smell (It Isn't Food) and How He Became a BBQ Boss

Chef Bryan Dooley gained his knowledge and training from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. After 13 years with the Fairmont Princess Resort in Scottsdale, it was time to set out on his own, developing Bryan's Black Mountain Barbecue in Cave Creek. Dooley's recipe for success: an enormous serving of down home friendship mixed in with his award-winning twist to a New West style barbecue.

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18: Sam Fox

sam fox tatsemaker.jpg
Photo by: Ditte Isager
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: The Ubiquitous Mr. Fox.

Tastemaker 18: Sam Fox

See also: Sam Fox's New Culinary Dropout Will Feature an Outdoor Park, Oyster Bar and More
See also: Silvana Salcido Esparza, Kevin Binkley, Sam Fox, Vincent on Camelback, and ShinBay Announced as Semifinalists for 2012 James Beard Awards

There are local restaurants and there are corporate restaurants, and then there are Fox restaurants. Tucson native Sam Fox has come a long way since 1998; his eating empire now spans more than a half dozen states and covers a diversity of cuisines from upscale Italian to tacos and tequila. Hate them or love them, chances are you've eaten at one of his twelve "concepts" - and no matter what you think about his arsenal of eateries, we have to give credit to a company that's not only survived the recession, but thrived straight through it. We tip our hats to Fox, a 2012 James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurateur Semi-Finalist and his Scottsdale-based company.


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19: Eliot Wexler

eliot wexler tastemaker 2.jpg
Photo courtesy of Eliot Wexler
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 man whose reputation preceeds him.

Tastemaker 19: Eliot Wexler

See also: Noca Owner Eliot Wexler on Chef Claudio Urciuoli: The Burrata Addiction, Tinkering With Dough, and "Adding Colors to the Palette"
See also: Tastemaker Claudio Urciuoli

As a city kid who grew up in downtown Chicago, Eliot Wexler experienced the eclectic array of cuisine and culture that Chicago has to offer. A lover of the culinary arts, he traveled the city forwards and backwards looking for the next great bite. In August 2008, he opened noca restaurant to share his love of food and wine with Phoenix.


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20: Natalie Morris

natalie morris tastemaker.jpg
Photo courtesy of Natalie Morris
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: New Times' original Big Brain Culinary Arts winner.

After renouncing culinary school, Natalie Morris worked in the Phoenix food community connecting Valley farmers and chefs during her tenure for Community Food Connections, while writing for Edible Phoenix magazine and serving as Partnerships Chair for Slow Food Phoenix. She has her Master in Food Culture and Communications from the Universita degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche based out of Piedmont, Italy and now owns her own strategic services firm, Good Food Allies, creating marketing and fundraising programs in an effort to help small businesses thrive.

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