Arizona Predicted to Lead Restaurant Industry in Growth

Arizona skyline

A report from the National Restaurant Association (NRA) predicts that Arizona will lead the country in restaurant growth for 2015 and will continue this growth for the next ten years.  Calculating factors such as industry employment numbers, disposable personal income and state population, the NRA predicts that Arizona will add up to 65,000 new food industry jobs.

For some, Arizona’s growth doesn’t come as a surprise.  The state has an incredibly favorable environment for opening a restaurant, such as lower taxes and fewer labor restrictions, which makes starting a business relatively easy.  Events such as the Super Bowl and MLB’s Spring Training have also helped to generate business for the state. 

Learn more about Arizona’s growing restaurant industry here

Dinner Lab Arrives in Phoenix

Dinner Lab Menu  | Facebook

Dinner Lab Menu | Facebook

With a presence in 26 cities across the country, New Orleans based Dinner Lab is set to arrive in Phoenix in April.  Dinner Lab is known best for hosting a series of pop up meals in a number of nontraditional venues.  Menus and locations are never repeated and the multi-course meals are specially created by a select group of local chefs who seek to give diners a truly unique culinary experience. 

New to Phoenix, Dinner Lab plans to host monthly offerings to its members, featuring a communal dining format meant to foster interaction and to strengthen the local foodie community.  Alongside offering truly unique dining experiences, Dinner Lab also seeks to develop local culinary talent and guests are able to rate their meals and give chefs critical feedback crucial to their culinary development.   

While the exact location will only be released the day before the dinner, buzz about Dinner Lab’s arrival is already at a high within Phoenix’s local community. 

Learn more about Dinner Lab’s move to Phoenix here

Four Arizona Chefs Amongst James Beard Nominees

James Beard Award  | Facebook

James Beard Award | Facebook

The 2015 James Beard Award nominees were announced this week and amongst them were four of Arizona’s top chefs.  In the Southwest categories, Arizona chefs were nominated for the prestigious Outstanding Restaurant, Outstanding Restaurateur, and Best Chef awards.

The nominated chefs and restaurants include Sam Fox of Fox Restaurant Concepts, Pizzeriea Bianco, Charleen Badman of FnB and Kevin Binkley of Cave Creek restaurant.

Nominees are selected by a committee of critics, writers and editors amongst a list of nearly 35,000 submissions.  The winners are set to be announced March 24th. 

Learn more about the nominees here

The Omni Scottsdale Showcases Arizona’s Vibrant Culinary Scene

The Omni Scottsdale Culinary Crew  | Facebook

The Omni Scottsdale Culinary Crew | Facebook

Hoping to highlight the diversity of Arizona’s culinary heritage, the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia has announced its long term vision of introducing guests to Arizona’s local produce, wineries, craft beers and agriculture.   

The Omni has already invested over $270 million into the ambitious project and is developing plans to showcase Arizona’s agricultural and beverage industries through a series of additions to the property, including a Chef’s Kitchen, an Herb Garden, and an 8,000 square foot wellness venue that will offer culinary demonstrations, classes, and monthly wine dinners set to begin within the next two months. 

Collaborating with the James Beard Foundation, the Omni Scottsdale has also planned to host a number of culinary weekends, where guests can visit local farms, and farm-to-table dining events that feature produce from local farmers’ markets alongside herbs from the property’s Herb Garden. 

Read more on how the Omni Scottsdale plans to showcase Arizona’s culinary heritage here

Phoenix’s Crudo Combats Overfishing by Serving “Trash Fish”

Yellowtail Collar  | Crudo Facebook

Yellowtail Collar | Crudo Facebook

Overfishing is a very real problem facing the culinary world and Phoenix’s own Crudo has joined a small group of restaurants and chefs that are fighting back. 

Looking to promote sustainable dining options, Crudo’s chef Cullen Campbell has introduced trash fish to his menu.  Trash fish refers to both the dishes crafted from the parts of the fish, such as bones and roe, which most chefs simply throw away as well as to the less popular fish typically tossed overboard by fisherman in favor of more common species like ahi, sea bass and cod. 

By serving dishes crafted from the “leftover” parts of a fish, restaurants are able to eliminate wastage.  And working with lesser known fish that are both plentiful and affordable allows chefs to relieve the pressure on overfished species while simultaneously offering diners a chance to experience new dining alternatives. 

Yet while these trash fish dishes are just as flavorful as those prepared with more traditional fish, chefs are still finding it difficult to procure these alternatives as suppliers remain hesitant to stock them.  Campbell remains positive about these challenges and predicts that trash fish will join the likes of the organic and local food movements and soon evolve into a mainstream trend. 

Do you think the trash-fish movement will catch on?  Read More