Chow Bella

22: Claudio Urciuoli

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: We keep the Italians comin'....

Tastemaker 22: Claudio Urciuoli

See also: Noca Owner Eliot Wexler on Chef Claudio Urciuoli: The Burrata Addiction, Tinkering With Dough, and "Adding Colors to the Palette"

As a native of Italy, Claudio Urciuoli has a true appreciation for the culture, products and cuisine of his home country not to mention a love affair with Ducati Motorcycles. He has worked with some of the great culinary talents in this country since his arrival, including Sirio Maccioni, Nancy Silverton and Phoenix's own Chris Bianco. And he's made a great impression on the Phoenix culinary scene, garnering a spot on Esquire magazine's "Best New Restaurant" list when he opened Prado at the Intercontinental's Montelucia. He is currently the executive chef at Noca.

I arrived in Phoenix with... the plan to open Taggia for the Kimpton Hotel Group.

If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... having a large Italian family when we have a dinner party the number is greater than 6. At the table would be family from past and present who nurtured my love of food and friendship. If there were two extra seats then I would love to share the experience with the greatest MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Marco Simoncelli.

One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... without question Pizzeria Bianco.

One menu item this city could do without is... when you go to a sushi bar and they serve bad ginger, the kind that is sort of pink.

My last meal in Phoenix would be... for my culinary farewell to Phoenix, I would make stops to see Shin at Sushi Roku, Pino at Pino's Pizza Al Centro, Giovanni at Andreoli's Italian Grocer and Stefano at Pomo Pizzeria.

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 39: Ryan Avery 38: Charleen Badman 37: Damon Brasch 36: Dwayne Allen 35: Jason Asher 34: Pamela Hamilton 33: Victoria Chavez 32: Giovanni Scorzo 31: Tim Wilson 30: Travis Nass 29: Jason Alford 28: Clint Spotleson 27: Daniel Wayne 26: Korina Adkins 25: Carla Wade Logan 24: Jeff Zimmerman 23: Gabriele Bertaccini

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