Tag Archives: Bernie Kantak

Take a ‘leap of faith’ with monthly dining series

Chef Cullen Campbell, Crudo

Chef Cullen Campbell, Crudo

Crudo To Host Star-Studded, Mystery Menu Monthly Dinner Series
Co-hosted with fellow Valley chefs such as Jared Porter & Bernie Kantak, Crudo’s Blank Space dinner series takes tastebuds on a tasty leap of faith, starting October 6.

Who: Daring diners, local food lovers and anyone else looking for a new, ever-changing culinary adventure.

What: It’s just like murder mystery dinner theatre, without all the hammy acting, rubbery chicken dishes and, you know, murder. Hosted on the first Monday of each month starting on October 6 at 6 pm with chef Jared Porter of Clever Koi, Crudo’s new Blank Space dinner series is a can’t-miss, wildly-creative and no-holds-barred culinary throwdown. For $75++ per person, guests will receive a time, date and the name of the celebrity guest chef, and that’s about it. Make sure to call 602-358-8666 to save your seat and pay in advance. The rest, from the gourmet multi-course meal to the handcrafted cocktail or fine wine pairings, will be left to the discretion of Crudo’s chef Cullen Campbell and his talented chef co-host.

It’s the ultimate leap of faith for daring diners, but also a great way to get inside the head of your favorite local chefs, to see what they’d make if they had no rules or parameters or a set menu to follow. Plus, with a chef lineup featuring names like Fletcher, McCabe, Curtiss and Binkley, guests can rest assured that their tastebuds are in for a treat. Full lineup below.

Crudo’s Blank Space dinner series chef lineup:

  • Jeff Kraus (Crepe Bar) Oct 6, 2014
  • Bernie Kantak (The Gladly/Citizen Public House) Nov 3, 2014
  • Chris Curtiss (Bourbon Steak) Dec 1, 2014
  • Kelly Fletcher (The Revival) Jan 5, 2015
  • Special out of town guest Feb 2, 2015
  • Paul McCabe (T Cook’s) Mar 2, 2015
  • Josh Hebert (POSH Restaurant) April 6, 2015
  • Gio Osso (Virtu) May 2, 2015
  • Kevin Binkley (Binkley’s/Café Bink/Bink’s Midtown) June 1, 2015

Cost: $75 per person (plus tax and gratuities) including cocktail/wine pairings

When: The first Monday of each month, October 6 2014 – June 1 2015, at 6 pm

Where: Crudo
3603 E. Indian School Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85018

The Joy Bus

Joy Bus Brings Food, Smiles To Cancer Patients

Rafael Figueroa, 48, suffers from stage-four colon and liver cancer, Wagner’s disease, pancreatic cysts and valley fever. But despite his ailing health, Rafael smiles every Friday at the sight of Jennifer Caraway and her free, home-cooked meal.

Caraway is the president of the Joy Bus, a non-for-profit organization she founded offering free, hand-delivered, home-cooked food to home-bound cancer patients. The Joy Bus started in 2011 after Caraway witnessed the struggles her friend Joy went through battling cancer, which killed her in February.

“It was something I was doing for her before she passed,” Caraway says, “and I just realized while doing it there are a lot of people out there that needed help as well.”

Rafael became a Joy Bus recipient after an insurance agent told his family about the service, says Mindy Figueroa, Rafael’s daughter.

“Every Friday, [Jennifer] would bring a healthy meal, and my dad loves it,” Figueroa says.
Her family struggled to locate healthy food recipes online, and Caraway’s meals served as a way to both educate and relieve stress.

“Literally, it’s a blessing; it’s one less day we have to worry and figure out what we’re going to have my dad eat,” Figueroa says. “It’s something to look forward to, and even though he’s suffering you can see a smile come up every Friday.”

The Joy Bus serves a need that isn’t facilitated by anyone else, says Lynne McGowan, a cancer case manager who sits on the Joy Bus’s board of directors.

“There are hospice services for people with cancer; there is Meals on Wheels that charges people for those services, but Joy Bus is a unique service, and it’s a support service by families that are impacted significantly by a cancer diagnosis,” McGowan says. “This service helps them maintain at least a piece of their normal ‘living’ if you will.”

The Joy BusThe Joy Bus is currently serving seven cancer patients, but Caraway says she’ll help anyone who is home-bound; the main emphasis is on cancer because of Joy’s affliction. Most of the clients are recommended through physicians or medical experts, but a client eligibility form is available on the Joy Bus’s website.

“The only reason I would deny anyone is that I can’t afford to feed them,” Caraway says. “Right now I can fit probably two more people in, but I wouldn’t deny anybody; I’d just end up paying for it out of my own purse.”

So far, Caraway has been financing the Joy Bus off a donation by the Case Management Society of America’s Arizona Chapter.

As for meals, each meal costs between $5 and $10 to produce, Caraway says.

One of the Joy Bus's chef-inspired meals.Bernie Kantak, owner of the restaurant Citizen Public House, and a Joy Bus board member, offers Caraway cooking advice and helps locate sponsors.

“I tell her to cook like I do,” Kantak says. “I try to make people happy.”

Caraway is picky and cognoscente about the food and service she gives, and tries to use the healthiest ingredients at her disposal, McGowan says. Most of the foods Caraway cooks contain a focus around increasing a patient’s protein, vegetable and legume intake.

Caraway says although some of the ingredients can get expensive when cooking for seven people, Joy inspired her to continue operating the Joy Bus regardless of the financial challenge.

“I am never ever, ever going to get to a position where I have to charge somebody for a meal,” Caraway says. “I don’t care if I have to do car washes every week, there’s no way in hell I would charge somebody for the service that I’m doing; they’re going through so much already. It’s not even an option.”

For more information about the Joy Bus, visit thejoybus.org.