From now until we publish the 2016 edition of Best of Phoenix, New Times is naming 100 Tastemakers — members of our local culinary community who help shape the way we eat, drink, and think about food in Phoenix. Some you'll know, and for others, it'll be a first introduction, but each person on our list deserves a nod for helping make our city so delicious. Oh, and while you're here, be sure to check out our list of 100 Creatives.
First up, a chef whose restaurant helped put midtown Phoenix on the map.
Aaron Chamberlin opened St. Francis on the southwest corner of Central Avenue and Camelback Road long before the intersection became one of the Valley's hottest dining destinations. Since 2009, the restaurant has been serving simple cuisine made with fresh ingredients, but Chamberlin's family history in the restaurant business go back to the 1930s. Before settling in the Valley, he lived and worked in San Francisco, including at Boulevard and Rubicon, also spending time in New York City working alongside well-known chefs such as Daniel Boulud, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Michel Richard. Chamberlin opened a second restaurant, Phoenix Public Market Cafe, in downtown Phoenix in 2013.
Today he dishes on a great spot for breakfast and the book every home chef should be reading.
My go-to place for great vegetables is FnB restaurant.
The best-kept secret in Phoenix is breakfast at Ollie Vaughn's on McDowell.
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My favorite growing season in Phoenix is the fall/winter months because of the abundance in flavorful and nutritious leafy greens.
Every home chef and gardener should read Monty Don's Gardening at Longmeadow, a must read, because he's my idol. Not only because he's a great gardener, but also[because] he's the cook. He turns what he produces into really awesome dishes.
My favorite place in Phoenix to dine with my son, Arturo, is my very own St Francis, but on date night you'll find me at Chris Bianco's new restaurant, Tratto.