Chow Bella

72: Johnny Chu

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 sauce(y) guy.

Tastemaker 72: Johnny Chu

Johnny Chu, a Hong Kong native who grew up in Phoenix, earned his culinary education while dining around the world, and accumulated a devoted following of hungry people who support him whenever he has a new idea/concept -- which is often. Among his restaurants so far, the following are no more: Lucky Dragon, Tempe; Fate, Phoenix; and Sens Asian Tapas and Sake Bar, downtown Phoenix. His current restaurants include Tien Wong Hot Pot, Chandler; Sochu House Neo Asian and Martini Bar, Central Phoenix (opening July 2012); and Lantern Restaurant and Bar, Peoria (opening July 2012). By introducing his concepts to the Valley, Chu says he hopes to inject a unique take on global Asian flavor to the Phoenix dining scene.

I arrived in Phoenix with... empty pockets, zero English in my vocabulary, a horrible haircut, but with a hunger for success.

If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... Anthony Bourdain, Martin Yan, Nobu Matsuhisa, Stephen Chow (Hong Kong actor/director), and my father.

One thing everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... a Sonoran hot dog!

One menu item this city could do without is... pork belly; it's very overdone.

My last meal in Phoenix would be... Binkley's.

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

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