Creative hands often find themselves bound for some newer incarnation of New York City, be it Portland, Denver, or an unclaimed corner of Austin, Texas. But next week, five local chefs and one Scottish bartender will show you exactly why, when it comes to the culinary arts, Phoenix is the preferred destination for some of the most creative minds in the industry.
The 2015 Ripe Awards, to be held this Saturday evening at the Phoenix Art Museum, will honor local chefs for their edible feats and unmistakable contributions to the Arizona culinary scene. For the first time since the awards were created, the public was invited to submit nominations for their favorite culinary artists, which were then reviewed by judges from the Arizona Republic and Phoenix Art Museum and Men’s Arts Council.
The explosive growth of downtown Phoenix, coupled with a local community that wants the diverse food options to match their growing city, has caught the attention of talented entrepreneurial chefs from around the world, and resulted in the eclectic range of food options we currently enjoy. And according to award recipient Stephen Jones, it’s never been a better time to be cooking in Phoenix.
“In the 8 years that I’ve been here, right now it’s at all time high … with some of the local chefs doing their own thing,” he said.
Chef Stephen’s impact on downtown can be felt the moment you walk into the DeSoto Central Market, where he not only heads up yard bird + the larder, but also manages the menus for DCM Burger, Walrus & the Pearl, and Tea & Toast Co.
After coming to Phoenix for love, he stayed for the food. And after getting familiar with the local food industry and meeting a few influential chefs, he saw the potential and decided to stay.
“And for the golfing. I love to golf,” he added.
Chef Stephen will be joined by local chefs who are making a name for themselves with dishes your palette will recall fondly.
Chef Lori Hashimoto of Hana Japanese Eatery, Chef Cullen Campbell of Crudo and Okra, Chef Jeff Kraus of Crepe Bar, and Chef Scott Holmes of Little Miss BBQ, where carnivorous impulses are set loose upon the world.
As a special bonus, this year will also feature the first ever bartender recipient, Bitter & Twisted’s principal barman and proprietor Ross Simon, whose precious Gaelic soul serves up dreamy adult beverages to the thirsty masses.
The Ripe Awards were the brainchild of the Men’s Art Council, a non-profit organization that works to support the Phoenix Art Museum through community events. Men’s Art Council member and Chairman of the Ripe Awards, Kenneth O’Connor, says the amount of talent present in the Arizona cooking scene right now is overwhelming, and he can’t wait to celebrate these five chefs and amazing mixologist.
“The valley just seems like it’s exploding with all these restaurateurs,” he said, and whittling those many talented chefs down to five was incredibly difficult. But thanks to the public submission element of this year’s awards, the council felt they were more in tune with the chefs who were actively making an impact in their local communities.
“These are folks, who through their talents and their efforts, are getting the valley noticed as a food destination. And they’re also people who are looking to carry the torch to the future, and create a synergy here in the valley,” he added.
Attendees can expect of night of incredible flavors spent in the company of some of the most beautiful art in Phoenix. The main attraction will be the chefs, who will each offer tastings of their signature dishes, and winning mixologist Simon will be paired with Arizona Distilling to create alcoholic magic.
The event will also feature live music, local wineries and breweries offering samples, bread supplied by Noble Bread, a silent auction, and according to O’Connor, “a little surprise.”
The awards ceremony will take place at the Phoenix Art Museum this Saturday, July 25, at 7 p.m. where bites and drinks will take place, and many a wandering craving will be satisfied.
WHAT: 2015 Ripe Culinary Fest + Awards Celebration
WHEN: 7:00 p.m., July 25, 2015
WHERE: Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004
COST: $55 per person, tickets available at: www.RipePHX.com
Proceeds go to support arts programming at Phoenix Art Museum
Photography: Grace Stufkosky
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Hop, Skip & Jump into Summer Reading will feature local and regional children’s authors, illustrators, musicians, and artists on Saturday, July 18th at the New City Church in Phoenix.
Families and children are invited to this free fun-filled event celebrating reading on Saturday, July 18th from 10:00am – 1:00pm at New City Church (1300 N. Central Avenue – Phoenix, AZ 85004). Families can meet local children’s book authors, hear exciting stories, participate in singalongs, enjoy tasty snacks, make art and crafts, take home books, and more! Discover Books is donating books so each child will receive a free book to take home. Authors will also be available to sign books available for purchase.
“Reading is fun, reading is essential. When you read you can learn about the world around you, and dream about places you have never been. Reading helps you think, grow and imagine the universe.” – Brenda Thomson, Executive Director, Arizona Humanities
Nancy K. Arnold – Patriotic Pups & Pioneer Pups
Kristin Cetone – Buckaroo Buckeye and Nuts About Reading
Gale Leach – Bruce and the Road to Courage
Conrad Storad – The Bat Book (Afraid of a Bat, What’s Up with That?)
Jacky Turchick – The Pancake Tree
Dianne White – Blue on Blue
In addition to interactive reading activities, this day will feature musical performances, book illustrations, and music by local artists including: folksinger Ted Warmbrand and illustrator Devon Meyer. BookPALS Arizona, an all-volunteer literacy program sponsored by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, will be on hand to distribute books, read aloud and act out stories for elementary school-aged children.
The event is free and open to all. No registration required. For questions or more information, call Ellie Hutchison at 602-257-0335 or visit www.azhumanities.org.
Members of the Bosnian and downtown Phoenix communities will gather at Civic Space Park Saturday to begin a “Walk to Remember” for the 20-year commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide.
The event will be the first of its kind in Phoenix, and will highlight some of downtown’s symbolic public art sculptures communicating the event’s message of peace, patience and healing.
“The walk will begin at Civic Space Park, under the Janet Echelman sculpture, ‘Her Secret is Patience,’” said Suad Mahmuljin, one of the event organizers. An active member of the downtown Phoenix community, Mahmuljin and his family were forced to flee their homeland, Bosnia and Hercegovina some 23 years ago.
Echleman’s woven aerial sculpture has become a civic icon, known for it’s subtle fluorescent glow in Phoenix’s dark night sky. According to Mahmuljin, the billowing structure provides an appropriate starting point for the walk, which will finish at the Burton Barr Central Library.
“(Echelman’s) sculpture really speaks to patience,” Mahmuljin said. “When tragedies like Srebrenica occur, patience is a virtue one must exercise.”
“Patience and healing go hand-in-hand,” he said.
While the “Walk to Remember” could be held anywhere within the community, Mahmuljin chose downtown Phoenix for its unique context.
“Downtown Phoenix is important because it is the nucleus of where activity happens,” Mahmuljin said. “There are cultural and artistic expressions in the downtown environment that you wouldn’t necessarily find in a suburban environment.”
Another such expression is made from 8.5 tons of metal and required a great deal of patience to fund.
“Release the Fear,” which serves as the second stop along the walk, is a sculpture by local Phoenix artist Robert Miley. According to the sculpture’s inscription, it is comprised of 8,000 pounds of weapons used in violent acts throughout Arizona and it took 10 years to source funding for the project.
“‘Release the Fear’ speaks to gun violence and how it harms our community,” Majmuljin said.
With more than 8,000 people put to death over a three-day period in Srebrenica starting July 11, 1995, Amela Gračanin, one of the original event organizers wants people to learn from this tragedy.
“The walk is to bring awareness,” Gračanin said. “Where we came from, what we went through, and to make sure that everyone is focused on what really matters in the world.”
“We are doing this for the people of Bosnia, our people,” Gračanin said. “It’s kind of a healing process for us.”
“(The event) is for us to never forget, so it never happens again.”
Author, psychiatrist and concentration camp survivor, Esad Boškailo, is the event’s keynote speaker. For Boškailo, his involvement with this historic event goes beyond obligation.
“With (my involvement in) any event like this, I do not even question myself,” said Boškailo. “I feel it is my duty.”
As well as practicing psychiatry, Boškailo is also an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona. After surviving six concentration camps, Boškailo has experienced the depths of loss and tragedy and wants to give back.
“I feel that it’s time for me to give back to society,” Boškailo said.
“I came from a place where everyone took everything away,” said Boškailo who lost almost everything, including his house. Many of his friends and family members were killed.
“I lost my best friend, my cousin, my aunt,” he said.
Event organizers emphasize that everyone in the wider Phoenix community is invited to join the historic “Walk to Remember.” Commemorative t-shirts will be available to purchase and wear on the day of the event the event.
All proceeds will go to the provision of basic necessities for families of Bosnia and Hercegovina. Boškailo’s own organization, the Bosnian-Herzegovinian American Academy of Arts and Sciences is helping to make this possible. People may also make donations through the event’s GoFundMe page.
When: Saturday, July 11
Walk: 8:30 a.m. at Civic Space Park 424 N Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85004
Commemorative Program: 10:00 a.m. at Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 N Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85004
Contacts for More Details:
Amela Gračanin: 801-949-2090
Dijana Mujkic: 623-755-7917
Photography by Lauren Potter
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Networking reception and ribbon cutting ceremony in celebration of the recently completed Phase 1 of the Roosevelt Road public art and streetscape improvement project in the Evans Churchill Neighborhood of the Roosevelt Row Arts District in Downtown Phoenix.
Representatives from the city of Phoenix will gather with community members to celebrate the recently completed pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly improvements on East Roosevelt Street. The Roosevelt Street Improvement Project started as part of a community-driven effort to enhance the pedestrian environment in the heart of the Roosevelt Arts District.
The project demonstrates the city’s shift to create “complete streets” that are designed to enable safe access for all users; including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities.
East of Central Avenue, the Roosevelt Street corridor was vastly improved through the addition of bicycle lanes, wider sidewalks on the north side of the street, wheelchair-accessible sidewalk ramps, new curbs and gutters, curb extensions at intersections to narrow the pedestrian crossing distance, energy efficient LED street lights, shade trees, decorative planters and tree grates, a new asphalt overlay and roadway striping.
Additionally, the triangle between Third and Fourth streets was significantly upgraded to create a unique downtown gathering space for area visitors and residents to enjoy. The newly transformed space features the art piece “Shadow Play” by Meejin Yoon, a solar-powered shade structure that lights up at night created and includes decorative seating benches, and new landscaping.
The second phase of Roosevelt Street improvements will span Fourth to Seventh streets, and is currently under design. The project entails similar improvements. Construction for phase two is anticipated to begin later this summer.
WHEN: Wednesday, July 8
Reception: 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Ceremony: 8:00 p.m.
WHERE: Roosevelt Triangle – between Third and Fourth streets
Mayor Greg Stanton
Councilman Bill Gates, District 3
Councilman Michael Nowakowski, District 7
Representatives from the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture and Street Transportation Department
Local community representatives