One-man chef/waiter/busboy Christopher Van Arsdale creates thrilling culinary theater at his beloved Scottsdale café.
When chef/owner Christopher Van Arsdale opened Café Monarch in 2007, he didn’t envision the restaurant – set in a converted extended-stay motel on the western edge of Old Town Scottsdale – as a one-man operation. It just turned out that way.
“After the first year, I ended up with a revolving door of employees flaking out or bringing chaos,” says the charismatic 50-year-old, running a hand over his close-cropped, salt-and-pepper hair. “I thought, ‘I’ve had enough of this, I’m just going to clean house and do it all myself.’”
BACK OF THE HOUSE
For Yupha Dequenne, owner of Yupha’s Thai Kitchen in Tempe, opening a restaurant was always a dream, but her late husband would have “nothing to do with it, she said.
She moved to the United States from Bangkok 40 years ago, earned two master’s degrees and had a longtime banking career. But she always loved to cook, and owning a restaurant was a dream she could never seem to get out of her system. So after she retired, she and her niece started the business in 2004.
Semi-retirement notwithstanding, legendary Valley sports and entertainment mogul Jerry Colangelo has a full lineup card.
Jerry Colangelo says he’s tried to back away from the spotlight. It just hasn’t worked. “People ask me what I’m doing now that I’m retired,” Colangelo says from his office near the Arizona Biltmore. “But I’m as busy as I’ve ever been. Now, I only do what I enjoy doing. I have the flexibility now.”
Dave Pratt is a hard rock-jock to keep down. After a mettle-testing six-year stretch that saw him beat prostate cancer just in time for his much-publicized sacking by country radio station KMLE, the Valley’s own “Morning Mayor” is back on the air for the first time since 2008. His new no-format show, Dave Pratt Live, debuted on 103.9 FM in August.
ARTIST OF THE MONTH
Les Lawrence is not necessarily a household name – unless you happened to purchase the artist’s individually signed dinnerware from Neiman Marcus in the ’80s. The Carefree resident is a big wheel in pottery circles, where fans spin tales about the talents and innovative techniques he applies to a discipline that dates back to ancient times.
Booksellers must scratch their heads over where to shelve prolific Pittsburgh-born author Jewell Parker Rhodes. She’s penned historical novels (Voodoo Dreams, Magic City), a memoir (Porch Stories), and two books on writing for African Americans. Her trilogy about a sexy New Orleans ER doctor who solves murders by vampires, ghosts and human monsters – Season, Moon and Hurricane – has enough cinematic sizzle to make you wonder why it’s not on cable yet. Current projects include a stage adaptation of her historical novel about the private life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass’ Women, as well as a young-adult novel. Rhodes, 57, is the Virginia G. Piper Chair in Creative Writing and Artistic Director of Piper Global Engagement at Arizona State University. We caught up with her by phone as she was packing for a trip to New Orleans to receive the American Library Association’s 2011 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book Award for her latest, Ninth Ward, a children’s novel set in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
A West Valley lawmaker with an Ivy League education wants to outflank Arizona’s budget cuts to support poor families and fellow veterans. Can he win?
When Ruben Gallego first returned from his Iraq deployment in 2005, he no longer cared about politics or helping his community.
After losing his best friend in combat, Gallego grew angry from his war experiences and the lack of services he saw for veterans back home. After all, he served in the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, Lima Company, an infantry unit Gallego says saw more combat than most. The 3/25 – as it’s often called – lost 46 Marines and two Navy corpsmen between January 2005 and January 2006, according to the Marines’ website.
West of Westboro
Some of the Valley’s most ardent Fed-fearing, LGBT-demonizing citizens find a mouthpiece in a headline-grabbing East Valley preacher. Could Steven Anderson just be getting started? ...
An Army of Juan
Maricopa County prosecutor Juan Martinez seized the international spotlight during the Jodi Arias trial. Is he destined for greater things, or will his controversial methods prove his undoing? ...
Kid de Cuisine
Gilbert chef Cody Vasquez cooks up enthusiasm for healthful eating in schools while getting recognition from Food Network and the White House. ...
Back in the Swing
Less than three years after a stroke nearly ended his life and career, local vocal icon Dennis Rowland returns to the stage. ...
On the Rebound
Ultimate working mom Sandy Brondello coached the Phoenix Mercury to a championship last year. But can she lead them to a repeat – sans their star player? ...