When the first dining guide to the Valley of the Sun appeared in 1978, the authors had to explain what “sushi” was. Fast forward four decades, and Arizonans are munching rainbow rolls in shopping-mall food courts. The restaurant business in Arizona now brings in more than $11 billion a year. With stories, statistics and insider tidbits, former restaurant critic Howard Seftel explores the many ways that dining out reflects our evolving culture, as well as shapes it. He explains the rise of independent chefs, the boom in ethnic eating, the push for local sourcing and the growth of Arizona wines. Seftel also offers a rare inside look at the development of food criticism and the Internet’s impact.
Howard Seftel has a unique perspective on the dining culture in Arizona. He spent 23 years as a restaurant reviewer at the Arizona Republic and Phoenix New Times – checking out some 5,000 meals. With humor and inside details, he gives audiences a fresh understanding of an experience we all share.