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
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
On October 26, 2014, Christine Mackay started as the Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Phoenix. It’s a big job overseeing several large divisions. She served in the same role for the City of Chandler for six years, but a city the size and complexity of Phoenix is a whole new challenge. We sat down with her to discuss her first ten months on the job and to learn what’s next.
DPJ: How do you see your role within the City of Phoenix?
CM: My role is to recruit companies and recruit the workforce that attracts those companies. My job is to help create the quality real estate that they want, a workforce that they want, an educational system that they want, and then they can’t say no.
For me, first it’s been about cataloging all of the assets that exist and really understanding those assets. I grew up here, I’ve been here my whole life, but I only came into Phoenix to go to GPEC meetings or a basketball game and then I went back to my suburb. No joke.
Two weeks before I got the call from Paul Blue asking me to coffee, my city council in Chandler was interested in looking at adaptive reuse on some of the old buildings in Chandler. Phoenix had done such a brilliant job with their adaptive reuse that we took a bus tour to see what had been done. I got to see Angels Trumpet, the Vig, Cibo, the Duce, and Luci’s Market. I got to see all this stuff and I went, ‘I’ve lived here my whole life, how did I not know this was here?’
Now, all I can think about is Phoenix. It’s a dynamic, exciting, cool market, and it just needed help telling its story. So many people are beginning to understand and tell the story: brokers, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, etc. and doing a remarkable job. It’s become much more than just a local story, it’s getting national play and national attention.
DPJ: What is your approach and what steps have you taken so far?
CM: My approach is to ‘take no prisoners.’ This is a big, bold, vibrant city and it needs to take big, bold, vibrant steps. This is the sixth largest city in the country and it wasn’t competing as the sixth largest city in the country. So, in the beginning it was about getting a marketing plan done, getting our website done, and getting our strategy set.
This isn’t a ‘fire, ready, aim’ situation, this is very strategic. We got our website done so that it was more attractive to site selectors, corporate real estate executives, thought leaders, and decision makers. We also made it very attractive to that knowledge workforce that wants to find a new place to live.
DPJ: Tell us a little more about that knowledge workforce and what’s attracting these people to Phoenix.
CM: I represent all 517 square miles of Phoenix, but the central city is our unique environment, it is the heart of metropolitan Phoenix. When you look at the way things are going, where a workforce wants to live, where a workforce wants to be, where they want to evolve – it’s in an urban environment. The days of a large house with a pool and a backyard in a suburban market are few and numbered. People want to connect in lifestyle. They’re tired of spending their weekends taking care of their yard and their house. The central city offers an incredibly vibrant lifestyle that the suburbs can’t duplicate.
DPJ: How do you see the connection between Downtown and other parts of the central city, for example, Midtown?
CM: Let’s look at Midtown. When I started, the commercial vacancy rate in Midtown was 38% and now it’s 23%. It’s a nine million square foot market, so that means we’ve brought in 1.3 million square feet of tenants in just 10 months. By the end of the year we will be into the teens.
Midtown has been a kind of ‘red-headed stepchild’ of the central city. Downtown has sports, the central government, CityScape, the Orpheum, etc., but no one had really cataloged the assets in Midtown. It’s just as unique as Downtown, and just as cool as Downtown. Where Downtown is hip, vibrant, cutting edge, thought-leading, sports-minded and fun, Midtown is just a little bit more sophisticated. It’s arts, culture – the Heard Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum, the Opera. The two areas complement each other incredibly well.
DPJ: What are the city’s plans for Midtown this next year?
CM: We have money in the city’s CIP (Capital Improvement Program) budget for 2015-16 for Midtown to really engage and connect with Central Avenue, and with the 3rd Street Promenade. Currently the buildings along Central, which were mainly built in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, turn their back on Central, but that’s not the way buildings succeed today.
The city is looking for ways to make those connections, including public sidewalks that go right up to the entrances of the buildings; crosswalks in mid-blocks so people don’t have to go all the way down to the next light to cross to the other side; small landing places with shade; and comfortable seating spaces. For the 3rd Street Promenade, which is anchored by Steele Indian School Park on the north, we’re focused on creating shade and trees and making it both walkable and bikeable.
DPJ: What about the northern end of Midtown and into Uptown. How would you describe what is happening there? Where do you see the boundaries?
CM: Any developer would say Midtown goes between the 7s from McDowell to Camelback. So to me, Midtown stops at Camelback and then Uptown starts on the north side of Camelback. When you go into Uptown, you go into a much more suburban market that includes single story houses, and ranch houses with big lots and mature trees.
But look at the area around the Camelback and Central intersection, with all the activity that’s going on there today, like Vintage Properties (Uptown Plaza), the Newton, the BMO building. There’s just so much.
The city owns a little strip of land in that area near the light rail station, on the western side of the empty triangle parcel at the southwest corner of Camelback and Central. We’re going to put out an RFP to dispose of it. Starting in July and August we’re going to hold neighborhood meetings in that area to let everyone know what will be happening on that site.
In addition, the developer who owns the southwest corner is looking at some new development plans for there. The neighborhood had some opposition to what he’d wanted to do before, so he’s really scaled it back to make it more palatable, but the neighborhood will need to have their input, so we’ll see what they say.
DPJ: We’ve heard that there is a comprehensive parking concept being developed. Can you tell us about this?
CM: When I got here the thing I kept hearing from the brokers and the building owners was that they couldn’t bring companies down here because they couldn’t park them. These buildings used to have 300-500 square feet per person and park at two to three per thousand. But, today, even the financial institutions only have 170 square feet per person in their new model and you’ve got to be able to get five to seven per thousand in your parking to make it work. And, until the central city is the favored darling of urban development, we’re still competing with places like Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Austin, Denver, and Salt Lake City. Places where they can surface park for free.
We have a lot of vacant space – 2.6 million square fee. of vacant space between Midtown and Downtown. And we don’t want to just fill the buildings, we want to bring the right companies with the right work force. To attract these companies we need temporary solutions until public transportation becomes more common place. We’re getting closer and closer to that, but in the interim we have to provide places for these people to park within four minutes of their building or the companies won’t look at you.
We decided to catalog all of the parking in Downtown and Midtown: everything from Buckeye to Camelback and between the 7s. Now, when a building owner calls and says ‘I can do this lease but I need 200 parking spaces for five years,’ I can say ‘here’s six places within a four minute walk where you can buy parking and here’s who you can call.’ And they do.
We’ve now done six transactions where we’ve helped people find parking. We’re going to the city council in September to ask permission to post private transaction information on a public website. Then we will be able to post all of the contacts for all of the buildings, along with rings around the buildings to show a four minute walking distance, and information on who to contact to lease parking in those areas.
Over time we won’t need as much parking, because people will get so used to mass transit that it will do what it is intended to do. But, we’re not there yet because we don’t have all the mass transit connections. As time goes on and we finish making those connections, everyone, or at least a great proportion of people, will move around by mass transit.
DPJ: Are you taking a similar approach to parking in the Roosevelt Row/Evans Churchill area?
CM: In Roosevelt Row for certain….I’m working with Councilman Nowakowski to identify some city-owned sites where we can get some parking up for the next three-to-five-year term while we figure out a structure and what needs to go there. Businesses will die if we don’t get them some parking by end of summer; it’s a ‘now’ priority.
DPJ: What are the main challenges/opportunities you see coming next?
CM: More parking is the challenge that we need to overcome first. It will be a game-changer. Then, I believe what you’ll see next is downtown pushing to the south. When you look at the Warehouse District…that’s the next cool, hip place. The development of the Warehouse District is going to be amazing. Absolutely amazing.
DPJ: Any final thoughts about your first ten months on the job?
CM: I am so excited. There’s so much opportunity. The city has done an amazing job since 2007-2008 in driving downtown development, but the vibrancy of downtown really changed with the Super Bowl. Our own citizens in metro Phoenix got on light rail to come downtown for the Super Bowl events and figured out how cool that part of town is.
So, that’s what we’ve been doing for the last 10 months: setting the stage for what we want to accomplish and putting the tools in our tool belt to say ‘now we’re ready, let’s go!’
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Phoenix Art Museum and The Arizona Republic Name Next Crop of “Ripe” Award Winners Anticipated to Lead Culinary Scene in 2015/16
Chefs Scott Holmes, Lori Hashimoto, Cullen Campbell, Stephen Jones and Jeff Kraus will receive this year’s prestigious Ripe awards from the Phoenix Art Museum and the Men’s Arts Council. Ross Simon joins the group as the winner for the first-ever Ripe award specific to the bartending and spirits industry.
Tickets are on sale for the Ripe Culinary Fest & Awards Presentation scheduled for July 25th at the Phoenix Art Museum to raise funds to support the arts.
This year, the public was invited to submit chef nominations to be reviewed by judges from the Arizona Republic and Phoenix Art Museum and Men’s Arts Council.
Winners exhibit the very best of the greater Phoenix dining scene through their culinary creativity and passion. These stand-out chefs are anticipated to open new restaurants and culinary projects — or continue to earn recognition for existing projects — for years to come. Past winners cannot be considered.
Ripe Event Details:
WHAT: 2015 Ripe Culinary Fest + Awards Celebration
WHEN: 7:00PM, July 25, 2015
WHERE: Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004
COST: $55 per person, tickets can be purchased at www.RipePHX.com
CHARITY: Proceeds go to support arts programming at Phoenix Art Museum
SPONSORS: Whole Foods, Noble Bread, World Life Music, Awe Collective
MORE: The 2015 Ripe winners will be honored from 7 – 9 pm Saturday, July 25 at an award ceremony and event at the Phoenix Art Museum. Attendees will enjoy music and tastes of signature dishes from the five winning chefs while sipping on fine wines and cocktails. Tickets are $55 and are available for purchase at www.ripephx.com.
2015 Ripe Award Winners:
Chef Scott Holmes — Little Miss BBQ
Chef Lori Hashimoto — Hana Japanese Eatery
Chef Cullen Campbell — Crudo, Okra
Chef Stephen Jones — yard bird + the larder
Chef Jeff Kraus – Crêpe Bar
Bartender Ross Simon — Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
Phoenix’s Midtown District is known for its collection of artistic venues, including the Phoenix Art Museum, The Heard Museum, and The Arizona Opera. By next spring, that list of artful spaces will grow with the addition of a new architecturally unique residential project called ArtHAUS.
ArtHAUS will fill in a portion of the vacant lot on 1st Avenue, near Central Avenue and McDowell Road. It will feature a total of 25 units, including seven three-level townhomes, 15 two-level lofts, and three single-level flats. The project will break ground this month and is anticipated to be completed by May of 2016.
According to Jason Boyer, the architect and developer of ArtHAUS, the concept behind his project is to “provide an attainable, well-designed, well-located urban infill residential choice.”
ArtHAUS residents will be able to live in an artistic and thoughtfully-designed urban dwelling in the cultural center of Phoenix, with easy access to light rail and the many restaurants, galleries, shops and events that are drawing more and more people to Downtown Phoenix.
Boyer has lived and worked in Phoenix for the past 20 years and was inspired by the transformation he’s witnessed downtown. In that transition, he also saw an opportunity. “As I’ve watched it mature, obviously one of the things that’s been missing is residential opportunities.”
Greg Kilroy of The Velocity Group real estate team is the sales representative for ArtHAUS, rounding out a team that is dedicated to enriching Downtown Phoenix with artfully designed spaces that contribute to the soul of our city.
ArtHAUS caters to the need for residences that are tailored to the true needs of the community and the people who want to live there. As a believer in context-based design, Boyer designed ArtHAUS to blend with the existing neighborhood and to be optimized for community-building.
“We wanted to be a good neighbor and a complement to the neighborhood, paying attention to scale and how the units address the street. And creating a place that had the ability to build a sense of community amongst its residents,” says Boyer.
The smallest unit in ArtHAUS is approximately 550 square feet and the largest is around 1900 square feet. Prices range from $156,000 to $490,000.
All the units within the building are connected at the second level with courtyard spaces. “You can sit out and have coffee and conversation while neighbors are going to work, walking their dogs,” says Boyer.
The design also complements our regional climate, with large overhangs and the use of glass within the units that maximize the Arizona indoor/outdoor feel. And according to Boyer, the interiors of the units are created to be as multifunctional as possible. For example, smaller units have islands that double as a dining table: “The kitchen tends to be the gathering point anyways, so why not make that the centerpiece?”
Boyer’s focus on attainable, well-designed living spaces was inspired by Phoenix, but he also took some cues from projects in Southern California, where “a more attentive eye to design and the living experience” proved to be favorable amongst buyers. Boyer hopes to infuse this idea into Downtown’s fast-evolving residential landscape.
Boyer and Kilroy hope to attract a variety of residents to this project. “We would truly love it to be mixed, really a representation of what we want downtown to be.”
ArtHAUS is set to be an architectural point of interest in Midtown Phoenix, contributing to the personality and value of the neighborhood, while creating a sense of place for those who live in and around it.
The sales center for ArtHAUS is located in the Porter Acme building at 1425 N. 1st Street. You can find out more about the development and make reservations at arthausphx.com.
Images courtesy of ArtHAUS