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, a chef who brings some Southern flavor to downtown Phoenix.
94. Stephen Jones of The Larder + The Delta
Chef Stephen Jones may have dreamed about a career as a football player, but these days he's more likely to be found tackling a new recipe than an opposing player. And at 36, he brings experience to the table.
Jones trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, California, before landing a job working with Michael Cimarusti of Water Grill. Then, after graduation, he headed to Las Vegas, where he worked at Nobu and later at Bradley Ogden before moving east to Chicago to work at chef Michael Kornick's acclaimed Mk Restaurant. Jones moved to Arizona in 2008, and Jones began working as chef de cuisine at Tarbell's. He went on to be executive chef at Latilla at the Boulders Resort in Scottsdale before landing a gig as opening chef of Blue Hound Kitchen + Cocktails at the Hotel Palomar. At the downtown restaurant, Jones rocketed himself to the forefront of the local dining scene with inventive New American cuisine inspired by the South. Since then, Jones has gone on to open a handful of concepts, including Southern-inspired food stall The Larder + The Delta; oyster bar Walrus & The Pearl; and the DCM Burger Joint, all within Desoto Central Market in downtown Phoenix.
Today he dishes on the best places for cocktails and the best-kept secret in metro Phoenix.
My go-to place for great cocktails and eats in Phoenix is The Gladly and Bitter & Twisted, two of the strongest cocktail programs in town, among others.
The best kept secret in Phoenix is the entire Asian restaurant game in the East Valley; there are so many hidden gems!
The best thing about downtown Phoenix is the people!
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I'd be delighted if I never at another plate of ... maybe not forever, but pizza I need a break from.
My culinary guilty pleasure is hot dogs! I am a sucker for Hebrew National hot dogs; they remind me of when I was a kid!
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
Editor's Note: This post has been changed from its original version.