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.
Today, a professional cellist turned Italian restaurant owner.
92. Richard Bock of Giuseppe's on 28th
Not every neighborhood Italian restaurant can claim a world-class musician as its owner — but Giuseppe's on 28th in Central Phoenix can. For nine years, owner Richard Bock was the principal cellist for the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra in Italy. And if that's not impressive enough, he played with the Phoenix Symphony for 24 seasons, toured throughout the United States and South Africa as a part of Frank Sinatra's orchestra, and played in both Carnegie Hall and The Forum in Los Angeles.
But music isn't just a part of Bock's impressive past, it's also the reason he fell in love with Italian food and culture. It all started in a club on East 84th Street in New York. Bock was playing when a customer who lived in Florence began to regale him with stories of Italian music, culture, people, and food. The customer extended an invitation for Bock to come to Italy — and two weeks later, the young musician was on his way. He ended up spending nine years in Italy, during which time he learned to cook Italian cuisine from his friends and their families.
Bock joined the Phoenix Symphony in 1984, and eventually became involved in an Italian restaurant in the Valley. When the Giuseppe's location on the northeast corner of 28th Street and Indian School Road became available in 2001, Bock knew he had to buy it so he could share his love of Italian food and culture with Valley diners.
My go-to place for pho in Phoenix is Maxim’s.
The best kept secret in Phoenix is Baiz market.
I'd be delighted if I never at another plate of kale.
You'll never find margarine in my kitchen, but I can't cook without Tuscan EVOO.
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My culinary guilty pleasure is bombolini (Italian fried donuts).
The 2016 Tastemakers so far:
100. Aaron Chamberlin of St. Francis and Phoenix Public Market Cafe
99. Ross Simon of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
98. Debby Wolvos of DW Photography
97. Anibal and Salem Beyene of Café Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant
96. Bo Mostow of Uptown Farmers Market
95. Julian Wright of Pedal Haus Brewery
94. Stephen Jones of The Larder + The Delta