Chow Bella

39: Ryan Avery

From now 'til we publish the 2012 edition of Best of Phoenix, New Times and Chow Bella present 100 Tastemakers -- Valley residents who make the cut in our culinary scene. Some you'll know; for others, it'll be a first introduction (but likely not the last). While you're here, check out our 100 Creatives on Jackalope Ranch.

Today: A man with the most interesting answers we've seen yet in the Tastemakers series -- which is saying a lot.

Tastemaker 39: Ryan Avery

See also: Hi, My Name Is Ryan

There are a lot of titles we could give Ryan Avery but to keep things simple we'll just say that when he's not busy serving as "the clown prince of Phoenix's downtown art scene," you can find him working at Astor House. Avery has worked in food service for more than 10 years -- and has been eating solid food since he was 9 months old. He has never liked peas, but will always eat them when they're served. And he tells us that he always tries to give a 25 percent gratuity when dining out.

I arrived in Phoenix with... nothing.

If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... it depends on the meal... for example I wouldn't want to eat potatoes au-gratin with someone who is allergic to dairy. And it also depends on the comfort level of everyone I am surrounded with, My wife would be there for sure but if I had too many musicians or performance artists there I would be afraid she would feel bored with the conversation. But I wouldn't want a huge variety of people necessarily because what if we all started talking about Breaking Bad but one of the people didn't watch the show and one other person isn't caught up to season five yet? Then there is going to be some tension. I also would want people who have exciting taste buds. My dream dining companions would not want to use ketchup.

One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... Astor House for breakfast, La Tolteca or Lo Lo's for lunch, St. Francis for dinner and Churn for dessert

One menu item this city could do without is... I'm not sure.... but I think this city could do without Arribas - that place gave me the worst diarrhea I have ever had.

My last meal in Phoenix would be... fry bread. If I was leaving Phoenix I would want something that's a staple.

The Tastemakers so far: 100: Tracy Dempsey 99: Craig DeMarco 98: Lara Mulchay 97: M.J. Coe 96: Betty Alatorre de Hong 95: Eric Schaefer 94: Hanna Gabrielsson 93: Shinji Kurita 92: Silvana Salcido Esparza 91: Mike Pitt 90: Christina Barrueta 89: Christopher Gross 88: Jan Wichayanuparp and Helen Yung 87: DJ Fernandes 86: Cullen Campbell 85: Chris Lee 84. Gwen Ashley Walters 83: Tony Morales 82: Lylah Ledner 81: Andrea White 80: Lori Hashimoto 79. Mrs. White 78: Eugenia Theodosopolous 77: Lou & Lovey Borenstein 76: Anthony Patafio 75: Carl Seacat 74: Sacha Levine 73: Sharon Salomon 72: Johnny Chu 71: Susie Timm 70: Jason Silberschlag 69: Gina Miller 68: Cindy Gentry 67: Amy Binkley 66: Dave Anderson 65: Mark Tarbell 64: Marianne Belardi 63: Audrey Lasalle 62: Brandon Gauthier 61: Brad and Kat Moore 60: Denise Clayton 59: Nobuo Fukuda 58: Richie Moe 57: Robin Trick 56: Alberto Della Casa and Letizia de Lucia 55: Farah Khalid 54: Dave Andrea 53: Vincent Guerithault 52: Danielle Leoni 51: Stan Zawatski 50: Maya Dailey 49: Duc Liao 48: Lisa Reinhardt 47: Isam Saed 46: Greg Peterson 45: Marco Bianco 44: Mark Fratu 43: Wendell Crow 42. Barb Harris 41: Michael Perry 40: Jeff Kraus

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