100 Tastemakers in Phoenix

Jacob Cutino of Homeboy's Hot Sauce on The Spiciest Thing He's Ever Eaten

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.

Next up, a man who really knows how to bring the heat. 

74. Jacob Cutino of Homeboy's Hot Sauce

Before he turned the metro Phoenix hot-sauce game on its head, Jacob Cutino was just another chef. In fact, Cutino has worked in the restaurant industry for most of his career. He says food has always been a passion — one that would eventually lead him to start the business that would take the local food scene by storm.

Though the small, glass bottles of red and yellow Homeboy's Hot Sauce have only been on shelves and restaurant tables for just over a year, Homeboy's has already become the go-to culinary heat source for top local chefs including Bernie Kantak of Citizen Public House and The Gladly, Cullen Campbell of Crudo and Okra, and Jeff Kraus of Crepe Bar. You can find the hot sauces on sale at well-loved spots including Le Grande Orange grocery, The Market by Jennifer, and Luci's Healthy Marketplace. 

Cutino says he continues to be inspired by and grateful for the local culinary community. In his free time, you can find him cooking, whether it be in his kitchen at home or with friends.

Today, Cutino dishes on the spiciest thing he's ever eaten and the best place for liverwurst in Phoenix. 

My go-to place for havarti and liverwurst in Phoenix is German Sausage Co.

The best-kept secret in Phoenix is the salted caramel Kouign Amann from Squarz Bakery and Cafe. It truly is magical.)

The spiciest thing I'e ever eaten was ... I’ve definitely had my fair share of spicy foods! But if I had to pick just one, it would be Chef Danny Bowien’s Chongqing Chicken Wings at Mission Chinese Food. My wife and I had them when we were in New York earlier this year, and both agreed it was one of the most surprising and memorable dishes.

First of all, the wings themselves are phenomenal, with perfectly thin, super-crispy skin. The seasonings of Sichuan peppercorn, cumin, cayenne, and other spices adds an intensely tingly, searingly spicy, dry heat. It feels like your lips and tongue are being stung by a thousand tiny little bees … but in a good way!

So, not only are they super spicy, they are some of the best chicken wings I’ve ever had.

My culinary bucket list includes build[ing] my own outdoor wood burning oven and grill.

Aside from hot sauce, you'll always find these condiments in my fridge: fish sauce, fried chili oil, multiple mustards, and a variety of pickles.

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 
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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria