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
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.
I arrived in Phoenix with... (in) diapers. Cloth. Probably poopy. It was 1958.
If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... wow, too many options! I would want to fill a hat with the names of all my favorite people and draw five at random...then have each of them invite a friend...some old friends and some new...a perfect dinner party, in my opinion!
One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... why, Rancho Pinot, of course! I'm pretty proud of my place.
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One menu item this city could do without is... it's not a single item, it's the TOO MANY items thrown into one dish. I call it the "needs something" syndrome.
My last meal in Phoenix would be... since I have no plans to ever leave the Valley, I can only hope that when my time comes, my nurse will be kind enough to push my wheelchair into the shade and duct tape a glass of Jules Yaylor to my feeble hand so that I might enjoy one last Arizona sunset from poolside...and maybe some jalapeno potato chips.
The Tastemakers so far: 100: Tracy Dempsey 99: Craig DeMarco 98: Lara Mulchay 97: M.J. Coe 96: Betty Alatorre de Hong 95: Eric Schaefer 94: Hanna Gabrielsson 93: Shinji Kurita 92: Silvana Salcido Esparza 91: Mike Pitt 90: Christina Barrueta 89: Christopher Gross 88: Jan Wichayanuparp and Helen Yung 87: DJ Fernandes 86: Cullen Campbell 85: Chris Lee 84. Gwen Ashley Walters 83: Tony Morales 82: Lylah Ledner 81: Andrea White 80: Lori Hashimoto 79. Mrs. White 78: Eugenia Theodosopolous 77: Lou & Lovey Borenstein 76: Anthony Patafio 75: Carl Seacat 74: Sacha Levine 73: Sharon Salomon 72: Johnny Chu 71: Susie Timm 70: Jason Silberschlag 69: Gina Miller 68: Cindy Gentry 67: Amy Binkley 66: Dave Anderson 65: Mark Tarbell 64: Marianne Belardi 63: Audrey Lasalle 62: Brandon Gauthier 61: Brad and Kat Moore 60: Denise Clayton 59: Nobuo Fukuda 58: Richie Moe 57: Robin Trick 56: Alberto Della Casa and Letizia de Lucia 55: Farah Khalid 54: Dave Andrea 53: Vincent Guerithault 52: Danielle Leoni 51: Stan Zawatski 50: Maya Dailey 49: Duc Liao 48: Lisa Reinhardt 47: Isam Saed 46: Greg Peterson 45: Marco Bianco 44: Mark Fratu 43: Wendell Crow 42. Barb Harris 41: Michael Perry 40: Jeff Kraus 39: Ryan Avery 38: Charleen Badman 37: Damon Brasch 36: Dwayne Allen 35: Jason Asher 34: Pamela Hamilton 33: Victoria Chavez 32: Giovanni Scorzo 31: Tim Wilson 30: Travis Nass 29: Jason Alford 28: Clint Spotleson 27: Daniel Wayne 26: Korina Adkins 25: Carla Wade Logan 24: Jeff Zimmerman 23: Gabriele Bertaccini 22: Claudio Urciuoli 21: Peter DeRuvo 20: Natalie Morris 19: Eliot Wexler 18: Sam Fox 17: Bryan Dooley 16: Bernie Kantak 15: Jim Cerreta Sr. 14: Josh Hebert 13: Michael Brown 12: Dave Johnson