Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Movie stars and musicians opening their own restaurants is nothing new -- even legendary rocker (and Phoenix resident) Alice Cooper knows that.
So when the next big name comes along, and it will, who do Valley chefs and restaurateurs hope it will be? I asked a few and this is what they had to say.
Michael Monti, Owner, Monti's La Casa Vieja
Ah, I just love it when multimillionaires trivialize our hardworking profession by dabbling in it for mere ego gratification and chump change. So let's go big if we're going to do this at all: The entire cast of Breaking Dawn should open a place that specializes in handcrafted blood sausage and organ meats from locally raised heirloom animals.
Silvana Salcido Esparza, Chef and Owner, Barrio Cafe and Barrio Queen
I'm starting to get tired of "out of town" celebrity anything(s) opening up restaurants here and then not even knowing their way around town. But, hey, it's been proven people like that sort of thing. I say, buy local!
Romeo Taus, Chef and Owner, Romeo's Euro Cafe
Joe Arpaio. Some of the best chefs in town get stopped every once in a while.
Joe Johnston, Owner, Joe's Real BBQ, Joe's Fresh Farm Grill, Liberty Market, Agritopia
Hugh Laurie should open a variation on the modern British gastropub using local ingredients and fusing it with jazz. The man is so talented and as Gregory House (House MD), he has proven mastery of the American culture down to the smallest detail. His talent as a jazz musician is unquestioned, as well. Plus, if you got sick at his restaurant, he would the ideal to diagnose your problem. Perhaps he should open near the Mayo Clinic.
Chef Kurt Jacobsen, Hidden Meadow Ranch, Greer
Gwyneth Paltrow. She writes cook books, is outspoken, and may just draw a crowd.
Josh Hebert Owner and Chef, Posh
None. Restaurants here should be opened and run by people who know this market.
Jeff Kraus Chef and Owner, Crepé Bar
Tim Burton, but only if the restaurant was designed with the thought he puts into his films. He expresses so many things in his films that it inspires me to speak out loud. A restaurant of this kind would be off-the-charts amazing.
Christopher Gross Chef and Owner, Christopher's Restaurant & Crush Lounge
Richard Branson. Everything he does is innovative and exciting.
Aaron May, Chef and Restaurateur
I think that celebrities should stay out of the restaurant business. If someone has a true love for something then that's different, but in general, people get into the business for the wrong reasons.
Michael Brown, Chef and Owner, Jamburritos Cajun Express
I choose Ben Henderson, the UFC world champion. He trains in Arizona, has a great love for the community, and appeals to both young and the old. He also likes to eat, and I hear he's invested in a restaurant at least once already.
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Scott Lindsey, Owner/Tequilier for TQLA in Mesa
Neil Patrick Harris because you know it would be legen...(wait for it)...dary.