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 who knows his way around the garden.
Tastemaker 75: Carl Seacat
A grower of premium specialty vegetables, Carl Seacat currently operates in Litchfield Park, Chino Valley, and Camp Verde. His designer veggies and signature tomatoes fly off the shelves into the open arms -- and mouths and kitchens -- of restaurants and food lovers throughout the Valley. Seacat, who grew up in Indiana, is passionate about local produce and forages for highly prized and hard-to-find produce. You occasionally can catch him in person at the Old Town Farmers Market in Scottsdale or find him on Twitter @SeacatGardens.
I arrived in Phoenix with... my high school diploma.
If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... In a year of sometimes traumatic change, my companions would be some of my most ardent supporters who have been instrumental in helping me through major transition: my mother, Earnestine; chef Gwen Ashley Walters, who is as good at writing as she is at "chef-ing"; Dee Logan from Arizona Farmers Market; executive chef David Schmidt from Enchantment Resort in Sedona; and executive chef Edward Farrow from The Café at the MIM (Musical Instrument Museum).
One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... The Café at the Musical Instrument Museum...world-class, locally sourced cuisine and affordably priced.
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One menu item this city could do without is... menu references to local sourcing where there is none or very little.
My last meal in Phoenix would be... I would have to go back to The Café at the MIM to thank them for being perfect customers.
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