Best Brand - 2009
In the more than 20 years since French chef Vincent Guerithault established himself in Phoenix, the city's been good to him — he's become one of the most respected, well-known chefs in the region. But he's also been good to us in return, keeping customers well fed with his distinctive, deeply personal dishes.
Guerithault's menus are a reflection of his love for Southwestern ingredients as well as his finesse with classic French culinary techniques. At his namesake fine-dining spot, he's become famous for such creations as duck tamales with Anaheim chiles and raisins; grilled rack of lamb with thyme, garlic, rosemary, and spicy pepper jelly; and perfect soufflés, including a tequila "gold" version. For these, Guerithault has amassed a loyal following as well as a slew of national media nods.
But the chef hasn't settled on running a successful restaurant — he's way too ambitious. Guerithault has also expanded his influence by creating a mini-empire at the corner of 40th Street and Camelback.
It encompasses a catering business, a lunch-delivery service (cleverly called Vincent's Van Go, with cheerful, Van Gogh-inspired artwork on the vehicles), a cookbook (co-authored with Esquire food writer John Mariani), and a casual eatery called Vincent's Market Bistro, right behind his main place.
In the evening, he serves thin-crust pizzas baked in a mobile wood-burning oven that parks out back. And on Saturday mornings (except in the hot summer months), he organizes a charming farmers market, where locals stop by for fresh produce, cheeses, olives, and maybe a made-to-order crepe. It's like a little piece of France, right in the middle of Phoenix.
How does Guerithault pull it all off? We're wracking our brains over it — as we nibble on a croissant, of course.