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, the pastry wizard of downtown Gilbert.
88. LaDawn Driscoll of Liberty Market
LaDawn Driscoll was born in Gilbert, raised in Chandler, and is passionate about bringing world-class pastry to the Valley. She has been baking professionally since 2002, and after earning her culinary degree at the Arts Institute of Phoenix, started her career as a baker at The Phoenician. She worked her way up through various positions at the James Hotel, Arcadia Farms, Simply Bread, and The Herb Box to her current role as Pastry Wizard (she just made up that title, but hopes it sticks) for Liberty Market in downtown Gilbert. Driscoll loves using local and seasonal ingredients in unique ways to feature on the restaurant's ever-changing pastry menu.
Driscoll also loves: her "brand-new good sport" husband, Bill; her two teenagers (who do not think she's cool despite all evidence to the contrary); growing way too many vegetables in her seriously tiny backyard; and her two rescue dogs, Schatzi and Charlie.
Now, she dishes on her current obsessions and what the East Valley's still missing.
My go-to place for unique ingredients for pastries in Phoenix is Lee Lee International Supermarket. I love finding things I've never heard of and figuring out how to use them in desserts.
The best kept secret in Phoenix is Cafe Cornucopia in this little strip mall by my house. It's excellent. The bread is to die for! And the Chandler food scene in general. I was raised in Chandler — if you've never tried Elmer's Taco, you're missing out.
My baking playlist includes The Decemberists, Chance the Rapper, Courtney Carnett, and Bernie Sanders speeches. #FeelTheBern
I'm totally obsessed with eclairs and pate a choux right now, and totally over donuts. (Sorry, donuts.) We feature a new eclair each week, and it's so much fun to come up with new combinations; seriously endless opportunities for deliciousness.
The East Valley could use more independent chef-operated restaurants and bakeries and fewer corporate chains. The market is here and demand is high. Don't underestimate East Valley diners just because we appreciate a good real-estate market.
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
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