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 woman who needs no introduction.
Tastemaker 38: Charleen Badman
See also: Pavle Milic's Quest to Make Wine: A Quixotic Exploit? See also: Baratin: Casual Complement to FnB and Simply Stellar Locally Focused Food See also: Charleen Badman of FnB (Chef Chat and Behind the Bar)
Known for her impeccable talent for turning some of our least favorite veggies into mouthwatering culinary masterpieces, Charleen Badman takes dedication to local and fresh to a whole new level (she's even got a leek tattooed on her arm).
Although she's been recognized in the national arena by Food & Wine, Badman's more accustomed to a smaller stage: the open kitchen at FnB. She's moved to the Big Apple and back, helped feed schoolchildren healthy lunches, brought inspiration to Ignite Food, and made the Valley a happier place to eat.
I arrived in Phoenix with... my brother and sister in 1992 to open Cafe Terra Cotta. (That was the first time.) Round two was 5 years ago when I moved back from New York after being there for 12 years.
If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... people I am comfortable with: Pavle, my business partner and spokesmodel; Anne Rosenzweig, my mentor, friend and business partner from New York; [former New Times food critic] Michele Laudig -- I love going out to eat with her; Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, my really good friends who love food and write great culinary books, including What to Eat with What You Drink and Becoming a Chef. And, we would eat at Roberta's in Brooklyn.
One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... Pizzeria Bianco. It is always the place I take my friends visiting from New York. It's simple, straightforward, and market-driven.
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One menu item this city could do without is... all that bacon. I love cooking with it, but everyone else had to jump the shark and use it, too.
My last meal in Phoenix would be... for breakfast, an almond croissant at Essence Bakery. For lunch, I would have chips, salsa, and a Sophie's Salad from Main Ingredient. For dinner, Hana Japanese. I had my 40th birthday there, and she made the best vegetables. I rarely do eat out, and I really want to keep it simple.
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