From now until we publish the 2016 edition of Best of Phoenix, New Times is naming 100 Tastemakers — members of our local culinary community who help shape the way we eat, drink, and think about food in Phoenix. Some you'll know, and for others, it'll be a first introduction, but each person on our list deserves a nod for helping make our city so delicious. Oh, and while you're here, be sure to check out our list of 100 Creatives.
Today, the woman behind one of the Valley's most hunger-inducing Instagram accounts.
63. Diana Brandt of AZFoodie
You may not know Diana Brandt by name, but if you're active on Instagram and interested in food then chances are good that you've encountered one of her drool-worthy food shots on Instagram. Under the name "AZFoodie," Brandt's amassed an impressive fan base — we're talking more than 29,000 followers strong — who look to her for photos from the Valley's newest, hottest restaurants.
Brandt grew up in San Diego before moving with her family to the town that introduced her to coffee, Seattle. But it was in Phoenix that eventually started her own family and laid down roots more than a decade ago. Her passion for food drew her into the event world, and Brandt did a brief stint working with the World Pastry Forum and local food event gurus, Rick Philips and David Tyda. There, experiences sparked her idea to start the AZFoodie Instagram, which Brandt says is "a small effort to help spread the love and keep her followers informed of the ever-growing local food scene." This year, she's gone back to her roots in food events, launching a series of monthly popup dinners hosted at private events featuring local chefs.
When she's not eating, you can find Brandt spending time with her husband or building LEGOs with one son and chasing the other son around the house.
Today she dishes on the best places for a family-friendly staycation and her fail-safe dinner recipe.
My go-to place for Vietnamese in Phoenix is Banh Mi Bistro; I can't get enough of that noodle bowl.
The best-kept secret in Phoenix is Atlas Bistro. You would think it wasn't a secret, but I can't tell you how many people have never heard of it.
My fail-safe dinner recipe is throwing large amounts of meat, potatoes, and veggies on the grill because let's face it, it's too hot to cook inside and grilling is quick.
My favorite place for a Phoenix staycation is anything family-friendly because that keeps the kids busy so my husband and I can get a little peace and quiet! The Westin Kierland, JW Marriott Desert Ridge, and Fairmont Scottsdale Princess are all places I've already staycationed or will be this summer.
Ten years ago I was training for my first marathon and never thought I'd be a mom or a wife but man, am I so glad there were other plans for me.
The 2016 Tastemakers so far:
100. Aaron Chamberlin of St. Francis and Phoenix Public Market Cafe
99. Ross Simon of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
98. Debby Wolvos of DW Photography
97. Anibal and Salem Beyene of Café Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant
96. Bo Mostow of Uptown Farmers Market
95. Julian Wright of Pedal Haus Brewery
94. Stephen Jones of The Larder + The Delta
93. Eric Glomski of Page Spring Cellars
92. Richard Bock of Giuseppe's on 28th
91. Walter Sterling of Ocotillo
90. Daniel Sevilla of Angry Crab Shack
89. Doug Robson of Gallo Blanco and Otro Cafe
88. LaDawn Driscoll of Liberty Market
87. Jason Calhoon of The Shop Beer Co. and Side Kick Cold Brew
86. Tim and Kim Cobb of United Lunchadores Street Gourmet
85. Micah Olson of Bar Crudo and Okra Cookhouse and Cocktails
84. Paola Embry of Christopher's + Crush and The Wrigley Mansion
83. Jared Porter of The Clever Koi
82. Diane Corieri of Evening Entertainment Group
81. Erich Schultz of Steadfast Farm Shares His Go-To Place For Beer That Tastes "Like Arizona"
80. Jeff and Leah Huss of Huss Brewing Company
79. Aaron Pool of Gadzooks Enchiladas and Soup
78. Diana Santospago of The Maine Lobster Lady food truck
77. Gio Osso of Virtu Honest Craft and Nico Heirloom Kitchen
76. Lauren Bailey of Upward Projects
75. Rodney Hu of Arizona Distilling Company and Yucca Tap Room
74. Jacob Cutino of Homeboy's Hot Sauce
73. Country and Sergio Velador of Super Chunk Sweets and Treats
72. Dean Thomas of Cornish Pasty Co.
71. Jennifer Caraway of The Joy Bus
70. Scott Holmes of Little Miss BBQ
69. Jared Allen of Proof Artisan Breads
68. Steve McFate of McFate Brewing Company
67. Mel Mecinas of Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North
66. Jessa and Dan Koppenhofer of Gilbert Farmers Market
65. Todd and Kelly Bostock of Dos Cabezas WineWorks
64. Ryan Probst of Odelay Bagel Co.
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