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 guy who keeps on truckin, even when he's staying put.
Tastemaker 40: Jeff Kraus
Jeff Kraus has founded a slew of edible gems in the Phoenix area, including nationally acclaimed Truckin' Good Food, ++experience++ gastro, and most recently Crêpe Bar. Kraus' cuisine is inspired by the "life" around him and developed by the constant pursuit of innovation and perfection. He describes his food just like he describes himself: playful, unpredictable, and detail-oriented.
I arrived in Phoenix with... a beat-up Pathfinder full of nothing but the 'essentials,' a lot of excitement to live in a climate where it's sunny for the majority of the year, and an open mind to let 'things' happen. Six years later...wt...cheers to a great half of a decade.
One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... just one! That's not fair! When friends come to visit I give them a list for breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner, and desserts. Ranges from the burger specials at Liberty Market, Matt's, Lamp, Cafe Bink, to the farmer's market/food trucks.
If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... from the past, my ma and grandma...from the present, my beautiful lady, Erin Ware and 'Hammer Time'(s)...from the future myself.
One menu item this city could do without is... anything "house-made" - as a diner I expect most of a restaurants menu to be made in house - and everything that is "award winning" or "world famous."
My last meal in Phoenix would be... a potluck picnic with everyone I admire and respect in the industry: Josh "Posh", Elliot "Noca", Gwen "Pen&Fork", Joe "Agritopia", Kevin "Binkley", Eric "MFTasty", Pascal "Classic Cooking", Tony "Desert Smoke", "GoodyTwos", and my family and friends that I've met since I moved to the Valley.
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