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52: Danielle Leoni

52: Danielle Leoni
Photo courtesy of Danielle Leoni

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 woman who'd like to sup with Dean Martin.

Tastemaker 52: Danielle Leoni

See also: Chef Chat with Danielle Leoni , Part Two See also: Rum Bar Launches A-RUM-a-Therapy Social Hour: $5 Rum Punch to Cure All Y'all's Ill

Chef Danielle Leoni kindled her culinary zeal in Illinois pizzerias as a "very young girl," which is pretty crazy considering we know (and love) her for her skill at turning out delicious and vibrant Jamaican cuisine. She credits her intense draw to making food and providing sustenance for eventually leading her to become co-owner and chef of both The Breadfruit and Rum Bar. Her deep roots in Phoenix -- where she's lived since age 13 -- matter deeply to her, and show in her dedication to the downtown community.

I arrived in Phoenix with... my suitcase. I was 13, alone and sent on vacation to visit family in Arizona. Haven't left since ...

If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be...

Dean Martin Michael Pollen Eckhart Tolle Max Planck Mitch Hedberg

One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... St. Francis, they do such an extraordinary job using what our local farmers grow and dish up amazing flavors!

One menu item this city could do without is... hamburgers so large that they trump the size of your head!

My last meal in Phoenix would be... at a Phoenix 'must' that after all of these years for whatever reason cannot seem to get myself there to eat... I would draw straws on Quiessence, Kai, Posh and Binkley's.

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

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