98: Lara Mulchay

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

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, we're getting a little cheesy.

Tastemaker 98: Lara Mulchay

In Phoenix, the title of Big Cheese easily belongs to Lara Mulchay, cheesemonger and co-owner of Hotdish Inc. Although her artisanal cheese and charcuterie spot, Petite Fromage, went on "hiatus" in 2010, Mulchay has stayed active in the cheese world as a founder of WedgeFestUSA and advocate for American artisan and craft cheese. This mother of two recently tied the knot with fellow Phoenix food nerd Joel LaTondress.

I arrived in Phoenix with... my mom, dad, and big brother, JP, by way of Tucson when I was 3 years old.

If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... Ha! Only five to choose from? Okay, here are my all-time favorite dinner companions in the past -- it would be awesome to have them all together at once. My husband, Joel LaTondress, Christopher Gross, Matt Carter, Michel Richard, and Michele Laudig.

One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... La Fontanella Restaurant. I basically grew up in this restaurant, and I credit chef/owner Isabella Bertuccio with cultivating my food obsession at a young age. My favorites: chicken picatta, veal tournados, and my kids' favorite: mussels mariniere and fried calamari.

One menu item this city could do without is... kids' menus. It drives me crazy when a children's menu is offered and out comes Kraft mac and cheese or reheated frozen chicken nuggets. I find it offensive. I don't serve this to my kids at home -- why on Earth would I pay money to feed it to them at a restaurant ? Instead, I'd like to be able to order a smaller portion of an entree from the regular menu.

My last meal in Phoenix would be... The TeePee Restaurant. It's my favorite comfort food. Whenever I leave on a long trip, it's the last place I eat and the first place I want when I return.

The Tastemakers so far: 100: Tracy Dempsey 99: Craig DeMarco Follow Chow Bella on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.