Phoenix New Times' Chris Malloy Wins Best of the West for Sonoran Arcana Series

Tamara Stanger and Cotton & Copper sous chef Nolan Barth with freshly collected mesquite pods.
Tamara Stanger and Cotton & Copper sous chef Nolan Barth with freshly collected mesquite pods. Chris Malloy
Phoenix New Times food critic and contributor Chris Malloy won third place in the Best of the West 2020 journalism competition for his series Sonoran Arcana. The monthly column, which spanned the entirety of 2019, covered the efforts made by “chefs, foragers, millers, brewers, and palo verde pod-pickers” to drive a novel Sonoran Desert-style of cuisine called New Arizonan.

Malloy was honored in the special topic column writing category.

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The chiltepin pepper, indigenous to the Sonoran Desert, is the focus of one installment of Sonoran Arcana.
Chris Malloy
“Chris’ columns read like love poems to Arizona. Their lyrical power makes me feel like I’m drinking the beer brewed in streams, my mouth is burning from peppers, or I too am standing on the cracked dirt of a bean field. His descriptive power is about more than beauty or feeling though,” the judge wrote.

“His words make a place and people and a food come alive in a way that tells the story of place in a way nothing else can. He writes in scenes and moments that make his depth of knowledge and research seem almost seamless. What a pleasure to read. What a powerful way to understand a place.”

The series was initiated by a fall 2018 article, “A Journey to the Heart of New Arizonan Cuisine” — a narrative about local chefs foraging for indigenous foods. Malloy won first place for best newspaper feature story in the Association of Food Journalists 2019 competition, and second place in the food and beverage writing category in the Society of Features Journalism contest.

Malloy also recently has released this week’s cover feature for New Times, “Growing Up — Urban Farms Have the Potential to Transform Phoenix.”
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Lauren Cusimano was the Phoenix New Times food editor from 2018 to 2021. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.