Chow Bella

87: DJ Fernandes

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 with great taste -- in more ways than one.

Tastemaker 87: DJ Fernandes Before New England prep-ster DJ Fernades got marooned in the Valley, we probably could've counted the number of Phoenicians who knew what a "tuck shop" was on one hand. But since opening his first restaurant, Tuck Shop, three years ago Fernandes has made the term synonymous with Southern flavors and tapas-style comfort food. We don't think it's any coincidence that this architecture school graduate is becoming known for distinctively deigned eateries, not to mention unforgettable inspired food.

I arrived in phoenix with... a 110-pound chocolate lab and a gas card I had to borrow from a buddy to make the journey.

If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... Jessica Ruiz, Larry Bird, Tom Brady, Carl Yazstremski, and Bobby Orr.

One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... I tell people who are into food to go to Noca or Nobuo, depending what their mood is. They are my no-brainer, I-know-the-meal-is-going-to-be-spot-on places.

One menu item this city could do without is... I gotta go with pizza on this one. Jeremy Grey put it best, "who gives a shit, it's a great band, it's a bad band. It's like pizza baby. It's good no matter what."

My last meal in Phoenix would be... Kai, and I am throwing down big on the wine list and casino gaming tables.

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 Follow Chow Bella on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest.

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