"We Asked Chefs" is a regular feature in which we ask local Tucson chefs a range of questions about chef life and food. Read their responses to the latest: "what culinary trend would you like to see advance in 2019?"
While I completely understand and appreciate the fast food concept, I would like to see Tucsonans move toward taking the time to enjoy dining experiences in the way intended.
At Senae, each meal is made individually from scratch, with fresh ingredients. Everything from the preparation of the dishes to the design of our dining room, to the personal attention given by the servers, to the music we play, is intentional — to give our guests the optimal Thai dining experience.
Of course, we will accommodate guests who need to get in and out quickly, but I hope that they understand that when that is necessary, [...] the experience cannot be optimal."
View our October 2017 Nine on the Line with Dee Buizer.
In 20 years the population will increase by 48% (US Census). We will need to produce nearly double the food we do now as an industry. Yikes.
I think our biggest downfall is the way conventional restaurants are set up; it allows for tons of waste and I believe there are methods that could be put in place to reduce waste and put it to good use.
I don’t know what the definite solution is, but I think Anthony Bourdain and Massimo Bottura are off to a great start with what they both contributed to [the] awareness of the issue.
Massimo’s soup kitchens — using waste from restaurants and serving it to the homeless — is brilliant, and I think a similar concept belongs in Tucson. The whole industry would need to work together in order to see any major shift towards sustainability.
But for now, if we can at least try to reduce waste, that’s a great start and will definitely play into the gastronomical needs of our future."
View our June 2017 Nine on the Line with Riley Chandler.
"I would definitely like to see more whole animal butchery. Using the entire animal is a trade that takes skill, time and dedication.
Southern Arizona has so many wonderful options like poultry, lamb, pork and more. My favorite part about whole animal butchery in a restaurant setting is that you get to see unique specials hitting the tables.
Pâté from duck livers; broths from bones; and limited amounts of special cuts like chicken oysters, lamb necks, and pork cheeks. As time passes, aged lardo, cured bacon, corned meats, fermented sausages, and prosciutto become options.
Locally, Forbes Meat Co., other butcher shops, and some restaurant programs have helped to push this concept forward. It will be interesting to see how far it can progress considering it is one of the most sustainable and responsible ways to eat meat."
View our September 2016 Tools They Use with Ryan Clark.
"I love all the house-made condiments showing up on tables all over the place.
It's a simple thing but shows the attention to detail that really matters. Plus you can do some pretty unusual and different stuff with them.
At Ten55, we make all of our sauces and condiments from scratch."
View our October 2018 Nine on the Line with Ivor Cryderman.
"I am not sure if this counts as a culinary trend but I would like to see the industry trend of creating a better workplace for line-level employees [to] continue to move forward.
Our industry has seen many great people fall to the wayside due to the stress involved in the business. Business owners creating a space for employees to thrive will only result in a better product as the team will channel that positive energy into what the guest receives."
View our November 2018 article on Tito & Pep.
View our December 2017 article Rollies Mexican Patio brings fun, modern Mexican to South 12th Avenue.
"I would love to see at least one huge, full-time, permanent farmers market that wasn't just geared towards the wealthy.
I'd love to see it stocked with everything like fresh seafood, charcuterie, wine, beer, candles, beef, vegetables, and fruit, to small food specialty shops, kiosks, and coffee shops. These are everywhere all over the world and I see no reason why we can't have a couple here in Tucson.
I mean, Tucson was honored with the nation's first UNESCO award in a large part, for our continued agriculture. I think if the right people and developers read this answer (hint hint), they could easily make it happen. This city is ready for it.
Other than that, I'd love to see the continued death of huge, terrible corporate chain restaurants, and the end of ranch dressing."
View our April 2017 Nine on the Line with Travis Peters.
"Smaller portions with intense flavors, aces with bright colors, and foams."
View our October 2018 Nine on the Line: Chef John “JP” Pratt from Tohono Chul Garden Bistro.
"I would like Kale to die a slow and painful death and go back to garnishing meat trays at the butcher shop."
View our July 2018 article Celebrate 26 Years of Ghini’s French Caffe with these 10 French classics (SLIDESHOW).
"Since we are in Arizona, I would like an interest to develop - especially here, in Tucson - around the Native American cuisine.
I know little — indeed, almost nothing — of their gastronomic culture, and I would like to see [...] good-quality restaurants anchored to Indian American tradition, but open also to new perspectives.
Among other things, one of the most important Italian chefs — Norbert Niederkofler, who just in 2018 received the third Michelin star for his fantastic restaurant St. Hubertus in San Cassiano — has spent a period of retreat and study among the Hopi, just here, in Arizona. Obviously, this is a culture that has riches that no one expects.
This desire of mine is the reflection of a more general curiosity that I have towards the way in which all the ancient original cultures are able — or aren't able — to advance in the modern world, adapting their contents without distorting them."
View our November 2018 Nine on the Line: Chef “La Fufi” Fulvia Steffenone from Caffe Milano.
Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran's Fats. Although he is best known locally for his work for Tucson Foodie, his work has also appeared in publications such as Bon...