Every week, there's a cornucopia of Phoenix food news, features, and reviews to report here at Chow Bella. If you're like most people, you probably just don't have the time to get to all of it. It's kind of like those burgers at Old Town Whiskey; it just won't all fit in your mouth ... or in this case, your day. So, here's a recap of some of the top stories from the week that you may have missed.
Notable Valley pastry chef Tammie Coe is doing her spring cleaning early this year.
In December, three months after ending her relationship with La Grande Orange in Arcadia, Coe soft opened a new shop at 5210 North Central Avenue in Central Phoenix. Located next door to Federal Pizza, the latest restaurant from Craig DeMarco and his Upward Projects group (which Coe's husband and bread master MJ Coe designed the bread and artisinal pizzas for), Coe's new shop officially opened Tuesday, January 15.
Josh Johnson grew up in a small town in Wyoming, where the words "fine dining" were never uttered. He hunted with his six brothers and learned to cook from his dad, who made red and green chile for Christmas dinner. You probably couldn't have told him he'd someday be chef de cuisine of the only five-diamond, five-star restaurant in the sixth largest city in the country. And if you had, he wouldn't have been impressed. He's a humble, down-to-earth guy whose rugged upbringing in the oil and gas fields of Wyoming taught him about working hard and keeping your head down -- even when fancy-pants chefs throw pots and pans in your general direction.
Johnson, who knew Wyoming offered him nothing he wanted, gave serious thought to what he wanted to do with his life, enrolling at the Western Culinary Institute in Portland because he loved the town and the school had earned a good reputation. Upon graduation, he externed at Jenny Lake Lodge, a four-star, four-diamond resort at the time, nestled at the base of the Grand Tetons, later moving to Lutece in Las Vegas, where he worked under celebrity chef David Feau. "I was thrown into the meat grinder, and it was the most stressful time of my life," Johnson says, "but I learned a lot and overcame a lot," a tough thing for a young guy raised to hold his ground.
Recently, Guy Fieri has been in the spotlight, thanks to Pete Wells utterly destroying his new Times Square restaurant, Guy's American Kitchen, in a New York Times review. But this week, the restaurateur and Food Network host has been quietly filming six Valley restaurants for the 14th season of his popular show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
Legendary Valley chef Charleen Badman of FnB, her Scottsdale restaurant she owns with partner Pavle Milic, is no stranger to the spotlight.
So not surprisingly, the Arizona native and advocate for all things local and fresh has recently been tapped by Food & Wine to give an insider's guide to her favorite restaurants in Phoenix as well as spots to shop and stay.
Gettin' Vig-gy with it (sorry) in the downtown area might be a reality in the next several months for the popular upscale tavern The Vig.
Celebrating six years at its original Arcadia location and nearly three at its second spot in Central Phoenix, Vig owners Tucker Woodbury and Jim Riley are planning to open a new location in the downtown area. Specifically, at Fourth Avenue and Fillmore in the building that was formerly Palette and Terra's Garden.
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