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 legend in the Valley culinary scene.
Tastemaker 65: Mark Tarbell
You probably already know about Mark Tarbell, host and owner of Tarbell's and longtime wine columnist for the Arizona Republic. He received wine training at the l'Academie du Vin and earned a Grande Diplome d'Etude Culinaire from La Varenne Ecole du Cuisine -- he was also nominated for "Best Chef -- Southwest" by the James Beard Foundation. Did we mention that in 2007 he beat Cat Cora on Food Network's Iron Chef?
I arrived in Phoenix with... nothing but a smile and all my worldly possessions in a VW. I coasted on all the downhill runs from Flagstaff to Phoenix on fumes (true story!) circa 1986
If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... set in 1935 , it would include Churchill, de Gaulle, Roosevelt, Stalin, and Mussolini ... I believe that all the world's problems can be solved over a good plate of food and a bottle of wine. PS: de Gaulle and Mussolini would supply the wine and food.
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One menu item this city could do without is... bottled water and fake crab "California rolls." Let's end the assault on and destruction of the old and beautiful sushi culture and tradition.
My last meal in Phoenix would be... very, very, very far in the future. And it would be a plate of chilaquiles with homemade red chile sauce made with chili Colorado by the Saenz family in Chihuahua, Mexico. With a fried egg on top. Yeah!
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