Chef News

Mark Tarbell Dishes on Beating Cat Cora and the Joy of Apricots -- and Gives the Best Answer Ever to the Death-Row-Last-Meal Question

Mark Tarbell Tarbell's 3213 E. Camelback Road 602-955-8100 www.tarbells.com

This is part one of my interview with Mark Tarbell, owner of Tarbell's in Phoenix and The Oven Pizza E Vino in Lakewood, Colorado. In Part Two,Tarbell talks about how he discovered wine and his advice for aspiring chefs. Mark Tarbell is known around Phoenix as the soft-spoken, supremely gracious host of his namesake restaurant and the down-to-earth oenophile who's written a wine column for the Arizona Republic for years. We don't necessarily consider him a chef (though he was trained as one) or a baker (though he worked at Clear Flour Bakery in Boston, which sold bread to the city's best restaurants).

Beyond that, Tarbell's a music-loving, celebrity shoulder-rubbing Renaissance man who realized what he wanted early on and bought a one-way ticket to Europe after high school, landing a culinary apprenticeship at the Sonesta Hotel in Amsterdam.

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Nikki Buchanan