100 Tastemakers in Phoenix

Walter Sterling of Ocotillo on the Most Memorable Meal He's Ever Had in Phoenix

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

Next up, part of the powerhouse team behind one of Phoenix's hottest restaurants right now.

91. Walter Sterling of Ocotillo 

Ocotillo in central Phoenix is not just a restaurant. It's a dining compound: a restaurant, beer garden, coffee bar, and generous amounts of outdoor space for lounging, eating, and drinking. Walter Sterling purchased the property on the southeast corner of Third and Flower streets three years before it finally opened to the public late last year, but with one look at the pristine desert landscaping and inviting sunken lawn, you can see why the project was worth the wait. 

Sterling brings plenty of experience to the project, including time at well-known Valley spots such as Mary Elaine's at The Phoenician, Oakville Grocery, and Sol y Sambra. And he's teamed up with longtime colleague and co-chef Sacha Levine and prominent Valley sommelier Dave Johnson to bring the complex to life. Together, the trio has made the restaurant one of Phoenix's don't-miss dining spots. 

Today he dishes on his go-to place for happy hour and the most underrated vegetable. 

My go-to place for happy hour in Phoenix is The Main Ingredient. 

The best-kept secret in Phoenix is Baiz Market. 

The most underrated vegetables is the onion because of its versatility. 

The most memorable meal I've ever had in Phoenix was at Nobuo at Teeter House. 

I'd be delighted if I never ate another plate of bruschetta. 

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
93. Eric Glomski of Page Spring Cellars
92. Richard Bock of Giuseppe's on 28th

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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria