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.
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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.