Celebrities say...

Written by Staff Category: Web Extras Issue: May 2016
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Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza

“As an adult, my first visit to Phoenix was in 1992, eventually moving here in 1995. Back then, I perceived it to be a city ready for a revolution, ready to honor it’s namesake. This city has exceeded my expectation.

Downtown is practically walkable now. The culinary scene has matured into an even and diverse field since I’ve been here. I think the national attention brought to Phoenix by our chefs is really impressive. From Food Network to James Beard Foundation, Phoenix is on the map for our food. Demographically, I think Phoenix benefits from a great diversity of immigrant populations. In my own neighborhood, I see people from so many different cultures on the street, taking the train. They are starting small businesses here, contributing to our economy and feeding us. Our city serves as a refuge, a safe haven, for people fleeing war or disaster. There are people here from Somalia, Myanmar, Iraq, the Sudan, Bosnia, Syria and beyond.

I love Phoenix because I am a Phoenix. When I arrived here in 1995, I came broken and sad. My mother had just lost her long battle with cancer, I was about to enter school. I was very aware that I was starting over, again. With a lot of hard work and faith, I ascended from the ashes. It's a great place to reinvent yourself; anything is possible. I was utterly broke when I opened the Barrio Café. I had just spent every penny of my 401(k) savings to travel all of Mexico. I started with nothing, twice. It's proof that anybody can strike out on their own and meet with success here in this great city.

You’ve showed me a lot of love, thank you. I am always grateful to be recognized by PHOENIX magazine because I know you have an enthusiastic and loyal readership. One of my favorite honors is when you put that great shot of my guacamole on the cover. I was so proud of that privilege. But the [marriage] equality piece that Niki [D'Andrea] wrote is the one I cherish the most. I’m so proud that my wife and I were able to represent and be heard. I have a copy of that on my wall, too!”

Marshall Trimble, official Arizona state historian

“When I graduated from West Phoenix High School there were only five high schools. Tempe, Mesa, Chandler and Gilbert [each] had one and Glendale had three. Now Phoenix has a population of some 1.5 million and I don't know how many high schools. I spend a lot of time on the freeways and I think we have some of the best in the country, especially the loops.

Phoenix is a great place to live and work. It's a great sports town with the Mercury, Cardinals, arena football, Diamondbacks and Suns. Also Grand Canyon University, Arizona State University and the Cronkite School of Journalism, KAET TV, KJZZ public radio. Camelback Mountain, our parks and wilderness areas, zoo, botanical garden, Papago Park – I could go on and on. I love the open spaces.

I think the people are great. We're a diverse group but we get along better than most places in the USA. Last but not least, the prettiest women in the world live in Arizona.

I believe I was in [the magazine] several times during the Bicentennial in 1976. My favorite memory was around 1982, when I wrote a story on several of the county sheriffs. I traveled from Cochise and Pinal counties to Yuma, La Paz, Maricopa, Yavapai, Gila and Coconino, and maybe some others.

Like all publications it had to change to keep up with the times but I still devour the issues that have the old Phoenix history in them, especially the anniversary issues.”

Al McCoy, legendary Phoenix Suns sportscaster

“Having traveled so much in the last 44 years with the Phoenix Suns, I've had an opportunity probably in every major city to be aware and to read their city magazines. I think that's one of the reasons that I am so proud of PHOENIX magazine, because I think it's just head and shoulders above every other city magazine. 

I think there's several reasons. Obviously, PHOENIX magazine has always done a great job of telling the story of Phoenix and emphasizing the strong parts of the city, but I think one thing that PHOENIX magazine does that a lot of the other city magazines don't do, and that is they're not afraid to take on controversial issues that the city has. To me, as a resident, I'm appreciative of that. They never back away from things that are happening in the city and they are not afraid of exposing those things in the magazine, and I think that kind of sets it aside from other city magazines around the country.”