Tastemaker No. 3

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From now 'til we publish the 2012 edition of Best of Phoenix, New Times and Chow Bella present 100 Tastemakers -- Valley residents who make the cut in our culinary scene. Some you'll know; for others, it'll be a first introduction (but likely not the last). While you're here, check out our 100 Creatives on Jackalope Ranch.

Today: A guy with a big breakfast -- and a big heart.

See also: -Tastemaker 2012 Archives

Tastemaker 3: Matt Pool

Matt Pool (pictured above with son Christopher and wife Ernie) got his start in the restaurant business as a 14-year-old Brophy Prep student, working almost 40 hours per week as a busboy at the French Corner in Uptown Plaza (which ironically enough is now a Good Egg!). He absolutely loved working there and was quickly hooked - he's worked in the industry ever since, from delivering pizza and working his way through ASU as a room server at the Phoenix Airport Hilton to bartending...you name it, he's done it. He opened Matt's Big Breakfast in 2004 with his wife Erenia and son Christopher on a quiet street corner, in what was then a much different downtown, and now also operate Giant Coffee just up the street at 1st Street and McDowell.

I arrived in Phoenix with.... my four brothers and sisters and parents and 19 boxes of our personal belongings on a Greyhound bus from Flagstaff after taking Amtrak from our hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.

If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... Dave Grohl, Jack Dorsey, Alice Waters, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, my late father Terry Pool (who loved sitting at diner counters).

One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... without a doubt Pizzeria Bianco. Chris Bianco's uncompromising commitment to stellar ingredients and food integrity is unmatched (and really is worth the wait).

One menu item this city could do without is... inexpensive truffle oil on anything.

My last meal in Phoenix would be... with my wife Erenia and son Christopher at Elements at the Sanctuary. We don't get a ton of time off for extended vacations and so Sanctuary is our go to spot for quick 2 or 3 day "stay-cations." Even though it's only 15 minutes away from our house, we're able to relax and spend time together and enjoy Arizona like tourists. We love Chef Beau Macmillan's unique blending of American and Asian flavors and his focus on great seasonal ingredients - no matter what time of day, the food and service is always top-notch at Elements.

The Tastemakers so far: 100: Tracy Dempsey 99: Craig DeMarco 98: Lara Mulchay 97: M.J. Coe 96: Betty Alatorre de Hong 95: Eric Schaefer 94: Hanna Gabrielsson 93: Shinji Kurita 92: Silvana Salcido Esparza 91: Mike Pitt 90: Christina Barrueta 89: Christopher Gross 88: Jan Wichayanuparp and Helen Yung 87: DJ Fernandes 86: Cullen Campbell 85: Chris Lee 84. Gwen Ashley Walters 83: Tony Morales 82: Lylah Ledner 81: Andrea White 80: Lori Hashimoto 79. Mrs. White 78: Eugenia Theodosopolous 77: Lou & Lovey Borenstein 76: Anthony Patafio 75: Carl Seacat 74: Sacha Levine 73: Sharon Salomon 72: Johnny Chu 71: Susie Timm 70: Jason Silberschlag 69: Gina Miller 68: Cindy Gentry 67: Amy Binkley 66: Dave Anderson 65: Mark Tarbell 64: Marianne Belardi 63: Audrey Lasalle 62: Brandon Gauthier 61: Brad and Kat Moore 60: Denise Clayton 59: Nobuo Fukuda 58: Richie Moe 57: Robin Trick 56: Alberto Della Casa and Letizia de Lucia 55: Farah Khalid 54: Dave Andrea 53: Vincent Guerithault 52: Danielle Leoni 51: Stan Zawatski 50: Maya Dailey 49: Duc Liao 48: Lisa Reinhardt 47: Isam Saed 46: Greg Peterson 45: Marco Bianco 44: Mark Fratu 43: Wendell Crow 42. Barb Harris 41: Michael Perry 40: Jeff Kraus 39: Ryan Avery 38: Charleen Badman 37: Damon Brasch 36: Dwayne Allen 35: Jason Asher 34: Pamela Hamilton 33: Victoria Chavez 32: Giovanni Scorzo 31: Tim Wilson 30: Travis Nass 29: Jason Alford 28: Clint Spotleson 27: Daniel Wayne 26: Korina Adkins 25: Carla Wade Logan 24: Jeff Zimmerman 23: Gabriele Bertaccini 22: Claudio Urciuoli 21: Peter DeRuvo 20: Natalie Morris 19: Eliot Wexler 18: Sam Fox 17: Bryan Dooley 16: Bernie Kantak 15: Jim Cerreta Sr. 14: Josh Hebert 13: Michael Brown 12: Dave Johnson 11: Chrysa Robertson 10: Joe Johnston 9: Eytan Zias 8: Bob McClendon 7: Snir and Kierstin Mor 6: Francesca Bianco 5: Stephen Jones 4: Cathy Hayes

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