Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where each week Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question or topic New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Miss a question? Go here.
They're masters at their craft and cook for thousands of hungry guests every year, but when it comes to the Valley's best chefs cooking for another chef, who would they choose? Here are some of their answers:
Chef Charleen Badman, FnB
The ladies at River Café, right outside of London, Rose Gray (sadly, she passed) and Ruth Rogers. Two women I've always looked up to. They cooked simply and seasonally. I would love the conversation.
Chef Kevin Binkley, Binkley's and Café Bink
I would cook for my mentor, Patrick O'Connell, the chef and owner of The Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia. I consider him to be like a culinary father to me. As his former executive sous chef, I'd love to show him what I've become.
Chef Justin Beckett, Beckett's Table
Jamie Oliver. I think we have similar styles, and it would be great to have the feedback and pick his brain about how he built his empire through media and true, honest cooking.
Chef Cullen Campbell, Crudo
[Masaharu] Morimoto would be the chef that I would like to cook for. I would want his opinion on my raw fish dishes.
Chef Shin Toyoda, Sushi Roku
James Porter from Petite Maison. He knows a lot about Japanese food, and he appreciates the culture. He has a great appreciation for traditional Japanese cuisine, and it would be a pleasure to do an omakase dinner for him (omakase is a chef's choice menu.).
Chef Elizabeth Meinz, Orange Table
Chef Jeff Kraus, Truckin' Good Food and Experience Dining
Thierry Marx's sixth sense cooking philosophy and experimental techniques has had a lot of influence on my style of cuisine. I would want to cook for him just to see what kind of emotional reaction I would get. Regardless of his positive or negative response, it would be a great developmental milestone for me.
Chef Jason Alford, Roka Akor
Bjoern Weissegerber of Zuma, Miami. One of my best mentors and teachers. He has a palate better than any sommelier I know. I couldn't care less about cooking for any celebrity chefs or these Top Chef celebrity judges. True chefs with a palate like a computer are much more challenging to your ability than anyone who claims themselves a foodie these days.
Chef Jacques Qualin, J&G Steakhouse
Joel Robuchon. A classic French chef at the top of his craft, Joel is the Auguste Escoffier of my generation. As a French chef born and raised in France, watching Joel's rise was an inspiration as I honed my own craft with my mentor, Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Chef Charles Schwerd, Arrowhead Grill
Chef Daniel Boulud. In my opinion, he is the most celebrated chef in the United States.
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Chef Andrew Martin, Cave Creek Tap Haus
Chef Thomas Keller of The French Laundry and other great restaurants because he rewards individualism and free-thinking.