Loyal fans of Iron Chef America can call us out on this one: Technically, chef Mark Tarbell isn't an Iron Chef. That title is reserved for the handful of regulars who do battle against a constant onslaught of culinary challengers on the popular Food Network show.
Only a year ago, Tarbell himself made an appearance, going up against Iron Chef Cat Cora in a high-stakes cook-off where the key ingredient was apples. And guess what? He won. Since the show's airing, Tarbell hasn't ditched Phoenix to gallivant around the country and leave his kitchen in other hands. He's stayed put at his restaurant — right where he's always been, and right where regulars expect him to be. You see, Tarbell's way too sociable to step out of the limelight at his namesake restaurant, where locals flock to dine on upscale comfort food like double-cut pork chops with white cheddar polenta cakes, pan-roasted organic chicken with buttermilk mashed potatoes, and Mark's Famous Spaghetti & Meatballs.
The fact that Tarbell is Phoenix's own Iron Chef makes the dining experience that much tastier.