Jason Machamer is an Art Institute of Phoenix culinary graduate and Tucson native.
Beginning his cooking career at Ray’s Pizzeria, followed by a stint line cooking in Phoenix, Machamer was a vital part of opening most of the (now defunct) McMahon restaurant empire. He is now general manager and chef of the original Trident Grill on Speedway.
What was the first dish you had that changed your perspective on food?
As I was in culinary school at The Art Institute of Phoenix, I was doing my apprenticeship at The La Posada Resort in Scottsdale. I remember we had a diver scallop appetizer. I couldn’t believe how tender and sweet the scallop was. Chef Anthony DeMuro would bring in so many great ingredients for us to work with. It was the best time of my life, culinarily speaking.
What are you eating these days?
I have been eating a lot of lamb. I’ve enjoyed trying new things with different cuts and techniques, making different sausages, smoking lamb necks for tacos and leg of lamb for dip sandwiches, as well as lamb chorizo on flatbreads.
What was the first dish you remember cooking?
I didn’t fall in love with cooking until I started culinary school. I didn’t cook much as a kid. The first special I did during my apprenticeship was a seared ono with green tea noodles and a ginger lime beurre blanc. I still remember how plain it looked and the fact that it wasn’t very eye catching. This is probably why I remember it!
What concept, ingredient or food trend does everyone seem to love, but you just can’t stomach?
I will eat and or try anything once. But man, hard boiled eggs. I can’t stand them. The smell and the texture are ones I just cant wrap my mind around.
What chef, with us or passed on, would you most like to cook or eat dinner with?
I would love to have a meal with Ferran Adria (Acosta, a Spanish Born chef considered one of the best chefs in the world). I would love to sit down and have him explain each course of one of his 25 course tasting menus. That experience would be heavenly.
What city, other than Tucson, is your favorite place to eat?
I would love to get to San Francisco. I haven’t been yet but, have heard so much about the food scene. So, I will say Las Vegas, because of it’s great mix of cuisine from all types of great chefs.
Speaking in junk food terms, what is your favorite guilty pleasure?
A doughnut from Le Caves. It’s the best sweet on the planet!
Top three Tucson restaurants?
I love Primo at the JW Marriot, Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails, and the last time I was downtown, I had a great meal at OBON.
With a figurative electric chair in your immediate future, what is your last meal?
Last meal… wow that’s a tough question. I could really get to overthinking this one. For the sake of not delving to deeply in thought, I will go with an easy, classic, favorite meal of mine. Thick cut medium prime rib with Alaskan king crab legs, and a glass of Balvenie Portwood Scotch.