We asked chefs: Which restaurant in the world do you find the most inspiring?

"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 22nd, 2019 at 1:39 pm

Alinea Restaurant in Chicago (Photo courtesy of Alinea on Facebook)

“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 restaurant in the world do you find the most inspiring?”


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)

“Ranked in the top 2% of all restaurants in Bangkok, Thailand, the Local in the city’s chic Wattana district has inspired me to add my own personal culinary creativity to the authentic Bangkok cuisine we serve at Senae Thai. A favorite of my family’s, the Local offers some of the best authentic Thai food in Bangkok, presented with strong evidence of the chef’s added personal touch.”

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

Mahmoud Elbarasi

The Coronet
Executive chef Mahmoud

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

“This is an especially challenging question for me. I tend to compartmentalize my love for different restaurants, then divide and multiply it in strange functions of time and place and mood.

So, after all of those formulas, for today, my selection is Le Chateaubriand in Paris. Inaki Aizpitarte was one of the first chefs in the Parisian scene that I’d heard of who was making relatively affordable, fresh, artistic, and almost improvisational prix fixe menus. Le Chateaubriand had an off-the-cuff, swashbuckling, bon vivant vibe while also being focused, simple, and aesthetically concise — to me, a magical formula. He began cooking later in life, almost accidentally, after getting bored with being a gardener; I share a similar trajectory.

Aizpitarte [knows] to mix robust flavors as opposed to featuring one robust flavor with seasoning — his mackerel with lychees for example. I find that dangerous and beautiful. Le Chateaubriand was also one of the first places I’d heard of with a wine list [that] was mostly biodynamic and natural. When we did our summer wine dinner series a Seat at the Table, some of the dishes we prepared that I found most memorable featured wines from the Natural Wine Company; I dreamed I was getting a taste of one day at Le Chateaubriand.”

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

Doug Levy

Feast
Executive chef Doug Levy at Feast (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Executive chef Doug Levy at Feast (Credit: Jackie Tran)

“I wouldn’t say there’s one most inspiring restaurant for me so much as a restaurant (or two) that’s inspiring the most. Los Angeles is close enough to be able to go once in a while, so I like to go when I can and see what some of the more creative people are doing in a city with as broad a spectrum of cultural influences as LA. A couple of faves whose menus change often and are always worth a look: Orsa & Winston, and Here’s Looking at You.”

View our September 2017 Nine on the Line with Doug Levy.

David Martin

Red Desert BBQ & Catering
David Martin, owner and pitmaster of Red Desert BBQ (Credit: Jackie Tran)

David Martin, owner and pitmaster of Red Desert BBQ (Credit: Jackie Tran)

“Besides mine, I really like elBulli when it was open. Chef Ferran Adrià thinks so out of the box. Some of the creations have your mind thinking it’s gonna taste one way, but when eaten, it is something so totally different. He brought a whole new trend in food to the culinary world. We have some chefs here that do very similar things and it’s so exciting; Travis comes to mind.”

View our December 2017 Nine on the Line with David Martin.

John “J.P.” Pratt

Tohono Chul Garden Bistro
Executive John

Executive John “JP” Pratt at Tohono Chul Garden Bistro (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Alinea by Grant Achatz.”

View our October 2018 Nine on the Line: Chef John “JP” Pratt from Tohono Chul Garden Bistro.

Fulvia Steffenone

Caffe Milano
Chef Fulvia Steffenone

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

“In this case, I have no doubts: the Slovenian chef Ana Ros and her restaurant Hiša Franko are a source of continuous inspiration for me. First of all, Ana lives in the valley of Alto Isonzo, crossed by a river that ends in Italy. It is a land that — a bit like Arizona — certainly does not abound with memorable raw materials.

Yet, with study and passion, and thanks to her boundless talent, day after day Ana grew up enhancing those ingredients that can be so poor in appearance. Even today, if her restaurant is considered one of the best in the world in the San Pellegrino ranking, it still does not have even one Michelin star. This is only because the legendary red guide does not deign to consider Slovenia a land of good restaurants. And even here, unfortunately, the similarity with Arizona becomes evident.

Ana Ros is a living example that with the power of will and constancy, you can reach the greatest goals.”

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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