I am very excited about today's guest on the pod. I have known Donald Hawk for over thirteen years as a colleague in the restaurant industry. He is the chef at Valentine in Phoenix, a modern day diner that showcases the southwest through the lens of regional ingredients and his unique take on them.
In 2022 Donald was recognized by the James Beard Foundation as a semi-finalist in the "Emerging Chef" category. Also this year, Phoenix Magazine named his Hiramasa crudo, the number one dish in the valley in line with Eater's 2020 list of Iconic dishes in the Phoenix Metro.
Before all that, he was already considered a valley's tastemaker: in 2016 he was making intriguing dishes like kimchi collard greens hush puppies and fried chicken-stuffed bahn mi. He worked with the likes of Jenn Lewis at Lincoln in Portland, Oregon; Chris Bianco, Bernie Kantak, Claudio Urciouli and others. Needless to say, he's rubbed elbows--literally--with many talented folks. And it shows. The coolest part is how he has been able to forge a unique cooking style. As a Phoenician, I am beyond proud and happy that he is one of ours.
The following chat is a bit of a biographical tale that will hopefully provide some insight into one the nicest, super talented chefs in town.