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
David Krietor has served as CEO of the newly-formed Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (“DPI”) since April 8, 2013. In that time, he has begun work with community stakeholders to develop the downtown we want. “Your Downtown” shares his thoughts and DPI’s progress with the downtown community and beyond. Read the other chats here.
On June 17, the Phoenix City Council unanimously approved a new five year contract for Downtown Phoenix Inc. (DPI) to manage the core Enhanced Municipal Services District. Thanks to everyone who voiced their support to Members of Council. While the Downtown Phoenix Partnership (DPP) remains a major partner overseeing services in the core, our new contract ensures we have a collaborative and coordinated approach to managing our increasingly dynamic downtown.
With the retirement of long-time Deputy City Manager (DCM) Rick Naimark, City Manager Ed Zuercher has announced the latest Table of Organization by promoting Karen Peters and Mario Paniagua to DCMs. In addition, the work of all deputies is now aligned by function: Public Safety (Milton Dohoney), Economic Development (Paul Blue), Community Services (Deanna Jonovich), Transportation & Infrastructure (Mario), Environment & Sustainability (Karen), and Administration (Toni Maccarone). Searches for Budget & Research Director and Aviation Director will commence soon.
In other downtown Phoenix news…
- American businesses flocking to downtown (just not in Phoenix)
- Arizona sees biggest population increase since 2008
- ASU partners with LinkedIn, Markle Foundation to help future jobs market
- Celebrate local businesses during Independents Week, through July 5
- Conference celebrated Phoenix’s independent side
- New Southeast Phoenix RAPID bus service connects commuters to downtown
- Phoenix plans to ride rails to economic prosperity
- Tallwave’s downtown program launches inaugural startup class
- Tiffe Fermaint’s Baby Teith fashion line finds Kickstarter success
- What 80 Orlando delegates took home from Phoenix (and it wasn’t t-shirts)
- Downtown workers coping with hot temperatures
- AIA placemaking series continues with “Shop in the City”
- Chilean developer building condo lofts, live-work units in Evans Churchill
- Filling in empty spaces: Portland St. condo developers look for renaissance
- Lafferty planning St. Ambrose condominiums at 12th St. & Van Buren
- Mitsubishi sells Downtown Phoenix tower for $94M
- New Uber center opening in downtown Phoenix
- Phoenix’s office buildings battle vacancy rates, downward pressure on rents
- UA, Banner to expand downtown biomedical campus
- Where are the architects, AIA panel asks?
- Arizona sports fans vote downtown Phoenix as Coyotes new home
- ASU research might change your mind about ticket scalpers
- Back downtown? Phoenix mayor reaches out to Coyotes
- Phoenix councilman pushes for dual Suns-Coyotes arena, mall, grocery store
- Super Bowl generated $295M in direct spending, $719M in overall impact
- The Sordid Travels Of A Cubs Fan: Phoenix
- The Upper Deck Tour: Chase Field, Phoenix
- Volleyball festival returns to Phoenix Convention Center
- Arizona Opera, Arizona Theatre Company raise $1.5M
- Downtown Phoenix gets new murals
- Go “Into the Woods” with Valley Youth Theatre
- Phoenix Arts and Culture Office seeks art educators
- Phoenix’s Central library becomes light spectacle on solstice
- Roosevelt Row holds Building Blocks fundraiser
- Summer art exhibits to catch at ASU
- Downtown Phoenix chophouse closing doors after 14 years
- Grocery store could be coming to downtown, ASU area
- Now Open: The Counter Custom Built Burgers
- 100 Favorite Dishes 2015: The 301 Pizza at Forno 301
- Phoenix entertainment district will allow alcohol sales near churches
- Ripe Festival and Awards showcase local culinary leaders
- Short Leash Hot Dogs to open in old Downtown Deli spot
- DeSoto’s Walrus & The Pearl: oysters & sparkling wine in downtown Phoenix
- Westin Phoenix Downtown overhauling Province restaurant
- Concert honors Phoenix refugee community
- Local families give out food, water at Phoenix shelter
- Phoenix & Blacksburg top 2015 Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards
- RadiatePHX hosts “Let’s Move, PHX!” rally at DeSoto Central Market
- Teens become doctors, nurses in UA “Summer Scrubs” program
DPI’s What’s Happening Guide for the week of June 29 to July 5 is ready to go. It’s an excellent recap of, yes, what’s happening in our downtown. You can review and download a copy by clicking here. And that reminds me, when was the last time you visited our Facebook page? Nearly 35,000 Phoenix aficionados “like” it and we hope you do too.