Best Renaissance Man - 2009
For the past eight years, Martin Antonelli has combined his advertising background, passion for family, and love of poetry into a charming French restaurant, Voltaire, in Scottsdale. It's his homage to family and food, instead of a typically trendy faux-French bistro.
After an extensive career in New York, Antonelli sought a change and an outlet for his creativity. When his son mentioned that the restaurant where he was working as chef was for sale, Antonelli jumped at the chance and moved to Scottsdale. The building that is Voltaire's home was once a farmhouse, complete with outbuildings. Antonelli began to give it his stamp by creating a warm, peaceful, and creative haven for fans of French cuisine.
Artwork created by Antonelli dots the walls, and in a charming waiting room, he's included such family items as his mother Valentinas's recipe box and her needlepoint and sewing supplies, which are stashed in a box next to a chair, just as you'd have seen them at her home.
And that's the point for a man like Martin Antonelli: to master the classics — whether in food, art, or poetry — and combine them in a way that they feel like home. You can get a taste by signing up for his regular e-mails, which include his poetry:
"Footprints" by Martin Antonelli
The future lays before you like a clean, untouched stretch of sand,
Waiting for your footprints.
Who will you be?
How high you reach is how much you will grow.
How much you seek is how far you will go.
How deep is your search is how much you will see.
How big you make your dream is how great you will be.