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 a real edge.
Tastemaker 9: Eytan Zias
After a 10 year cooking career working at New York restaurants such as Aureole, Le Cote Basque and Craft, Eytan Zias decided to open the Phoenix Knife House, a chef supply store specializing in kitchen knives, waterstone sharpening and chef uniforms. The shop has been described as "the barber shop for chefs," but also caters to the Valley's home cooks and after five years in business has one of the top collections of Japanese knives in the US. October 1st the shop will be moving to a larger location at 4837 E. Indian School Rd in the Arcadia neighborhood.
I arrived in Phoenix with... Literally a backpack (the first time). Originally from Jerusalem, Israel, I left there in a hurry when I was around 20 and came here since I had family. I found it extremely slow paced and boring, went to culinary school at SCI and moved to NY to cook.
My second time moving here was in '04 to help out with the Fiamma restaurant at the James hotel (may it rest in peace) and was supposed to be temporary - but after a two year stint there and a year at Kai it seemed to be pretty permanent.
I now live in Phoenix by choice, have put down roots, and wouldn't trade it for any other city in the world.
If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... Bill Maher, Senator Al Franken, Mitch Hedberg, my wife Joy, and Beyonce (maybe Alain Passard as an alternate).
One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... Tacos Jaliscos on 68th St. (North of Thomas)
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One menu item this city could do without is... The Hummus Trio plate - there is no such thing as a cilantro or red pepper flavored hummus, just call it what it is: a bad chickpea dip (also the bacon craze is idiotic and has got to stop).
My last meal in Phoenix would be... Blowing through my savings at Shinbay.
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 40: Jeff Kraus 39: Ryan Avery 38: Charleen Badman 37: Damon Brasch 36: Dwayne Allen 35: Jason Asher 34: Pamela Hamilton 33: Victoria Chavez 32: Giovanni Scorzo 31: Tim Wilson 30: Travis Nass 29: Jason Alford 28: Clint Spotleson 27: Daniel Wayne 26: Korina Adkins 25: Carla Wade Logan 24: Jeff Zimmerman 23: Gabriele Bertaccini 22: Claudio Urciuoli 21: Peter DeRuvo 20: Natalie Morris 19: Eliot Wexler 18: Sam Fox 17: Bryan Dooley 16: Bernie Kantak 15: Jim Cerreta Sr. 14: Josh Hebert 13: Michael Brown 12: Dave Johnson 11: Chrysa Robertson 10: Joe Johnston