We asked chefs: Which culinary region would you like to see represented more in Tucson?

"We asked chefs" is a regular feature in which we ask local Tucson chefs a range of questions about chef life and food.

Last modified on February 1st, 2019 at 9:17 am

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“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: “which culinary region would you like to see represented more in Tucson?”


Tommy Begay

Sushi on Oracle
Sushi Chef Tommy Begay III at Sushi on Oracle (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Sushi Chef Tommy Begay III at Sushi on Oracle (Credit: Jackie Tran)

“There’s not a big market for it, but Native American and Navajo food. Like real Navajo food.”

View our October 2017 Nine on the Line with Tommy Begay.

Dee Buizer

Senae Thai Bistro
Dee Buizer, chef and owner of Senae Thai Bistro (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Dee Buizer, chef and owner of Senae Thai Bistro (Credit: Jackie Tran)

“SE Asia is a fascinating region of the world, consisting of a broad range of cultures… and cuisines. While Vietnam and Thailand are well-represented in Tucson, cuisine from Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines are not.

Each country is very different from the others, and their cuisine reflects these differences. It would be nice to see these other SE Asian countries’ cuisines in Tucson.”

View our October 2017 Nine on the Line with Dee Buizer.

Ivor Cryderman

Ten55 Brewing and Sausage House
Executive chef Ivor Cryderman at Ten55 Brewing and Sausage House (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Executive chef Ivor Cryderman at Ten55 Brewing and Sausage House (Credit: Jackie Tran)

“I would have to say ‘soul food’ from the Southeastern states. I lived in North Carolina for a few years in my twenties and was raised in Detroit. I know Michigan isn’t in the south, but you couldn’t tell by the food.

There is something special about well-made, braised collard greens, red beans and rice, and smoked ham hock. It all takes me to my happy place for sure. Luckily we have chef Travis Peters at the Parish making some of my favorites. But I wouldn’t be upset if a low country meat and three showed up somewhere in Tucson.”

View our October 2018 Nine on the Line with Ivor Cryderman.

Mahmoud Elbarasi

The Coronet
Executive chef Mahmoud "Moody" Elbarasi at the Coronet (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Executive chef Mahmoud “Moody” Elbarasi at the Coronet (Credit: Jackie Tran)

“I love the food traditions of the United Kingdom. When I go out, especially after an 80-hour week, I’m not looking for flashy food. I’m looking for the elusive mix of comfort and quality. I often fantasize of the Sportsman being somewhere around town. I like quiet rooms, roast meats, and the use of the whole animal and every available vegetable. Things like freshly hunted game meats and foraged greens really get me excited.

The unpretentious treatment of offal, something I find as a staple of Scottish, Irish, and English country cooking, really makes me yearn for that country inn in the sky. I recently found a recipe for deviled lamb kidney on toast; if I could find a spot in Tucson that served food like that and afterwards get handed a pudding menu, I’d be there every Sunday night.”

View our December 2017 Nine on the Line with Mahmoud Elbarasi.

C.J. Hamm

Saguaro Corners • Mulligan’s
Executive chef CJ Hamm at Saguaro Corners (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Executive chef CJ Hamm at Saguaro Corners (Credit: Jackie Tran)

“We have a really strong Southeast Asian showing here with so many good Thai and Vietnamese places to eat. I’d like to see more of Southeast Asia represented. Like Cambodia, with some kuy teav or the red version of num banh chok, Malaysia, with laksa soup and rojak pasembur.

Also, good Filipino food, like lumpia, pancit, and pork adobo.”

View our March 2017 Nine on the Line with C.J. Hamm.

Jim Murphy

Kingfisher
Kingfisher's Jim "Murph" Murphy

Kingfisher’s Jim “Murph” Murphy

“I would like to see some Israeli Cuisine in Tucson. I recently visited Denver and dined at Safta. There is a staple in the Philadelphia restaurant scene aside from cheesesteaks called Zahav. And recently, one of my former employees was involved with the opening of Jaffa in Los Angeles.

The food is a blending of Mediterranean, North African, Middle European, and NY deli. It can be very heavily vegetarian and has some strict dietary laws, all with a wealth of flavors. It [has] some of the most exciting new food choices for me.”

View our January 2015 Nine on the Line with Jim Murphy.

Coralie Satta

Ghini’s French Caffe
Coralie Satta of Ghini's French Caffe and La Baguette Bakery (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Coralie Satta of Ghini’s French Caffe and La Baguette Bakery (Credit: Jackie Tran)

“Definitely a great Jewish deli, and Moroccan food. A few more of my French peeps wouldn’t hurt my feelings either.”

View our July 2018 article Celebrate 26 Years of Ghini’s French Caffe with these 10 French classics (SLIDESHOW).

Fulvia Steffenone

Caffe Milano
Chef Fulvia Steffenone "La Fufi" at Caffe Milano (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Chef Fulvia Steffenone “La Fufi” at Caffe Milano (Credit: Jackie Tran)

“As a first answer, I would be tempted to say that I would like to see genuine Italian cuisine well-developed. In the United States, Italian restaurants often offer recipes that are unknown in Italy and which are here believed to be a classic of my country’s tradition.

Actually, I would be very interested in learning more about Jewish and Israeli cuisine; the culinary heritage of that land is immense and has undergone influences from religious precepts. This situation has led to the creation of rather simple but extremely tasty recipes and probably the new generations of Israeli chefs are opening up new perspectives to a thousand-year-old cuisine.

Well, of all this I know very little; being very curious by nature, I would like to deepen [my knowledge].”

View our November 2018 Nine on the Line: Chef “La Fufi” Fulvia Steffenone from Caffe Milano.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com.
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