It's no surprise that Chef Matt and Chef Erin know their way around a kitchen. They've certainly seen the inside of a lot of them. After graduating with honors from Arizona Culinary Institute, the two chefs went on to work with four of the Phoenix area's top chefs, including a James Beard Award winner. In these restaurants, they honed their skills in various types of cuisine, including French, American, Latin, Italian, and Japanese. Ultimately, though, they wanted to create more intimate dining experiences for their clients.
Hence, they started Your Personal Chef LLC, transforming themselves into a mobile gourmet restaurant. The duo travels directly to customers' kitchens and creates custom, multi-course feasts with dishes that can match nearly any person's palate or oven's dietary restriction. But before they cook dishes such as Australian lamb rack or fresh halibut, Matt and Erin collect all necessary ingredients from local farmers markets, food vendors, and organic meat suppliers.
For outdoor adventurers angling for a mountain-biking trip through the Sonoran Desert or a standup-paddleboarding trip to the waterfalls of Sabino Canyon, merely getting the equipment to the starting point takes considerable effort. Avid outdoorsmen themselves, the guides at Arizona Hike Bike and Board are well aware of this trail-going hardship?one that ranks right up with bug bites and horse gridlock. Recognizing a need, and coupling it with an abiding interest in helping others explore Arizona's deserts, wildlife, and natural beauty, they started a mobile company that aims to solve the equipment-transportation conundrum. Arizona Hike Bike and Board's staff meets clients right at the trailhead or water entry point, and equips them with rental bicycles by Santa Cruz or paddleboards by Boardworks and Badfish. If it's a guided tour, the staff also supplies bottled water and snacks before leading small groups into into the rivers or deserts.
Thanks to the support of his mother, who was also creatively inclined, Pat Serie has had the benefit of spending more than 30 years honing his skills as a fine artist. From his outpost at The Emerson Art Gallery or at a variety of venues around town, he leads students through painting classes that teach technique, tricks, and how to properly furrow your brow like Dali. Classes include all supplies, such as brushes, paint, easels, and canvases, and Serie provides tips from his vast knowledge to help individuals put their own spin on each work of art.
Visual Utopia bistro offers an upscale dining experience with panoramic views of the Mesa. Let peckish peepers eat up the scenery while the bruschetta platter with melted brie, candied pecans, and apple primes the palate ($7). Or, tantalize your tummy with a mountain of spinach salad drizzled with pineapple-bacon dressing and topped with hard-boiled egg and goat cheese ($10.95). The hand-tossed barbecue-chicken pizza introduces chicken and barbecue sauce to mozzarella, red onions, and cilantro, facilitating a friendship as satisfying as a Tom and Jerry reunion ($12.50). Just like ambition to pursue guinea-pig rodeo clowning, dinner specials fluctuate weekly, but in the past have included options such as the grilled trout with tomato-cilantro chutney ($16.95) and the 14 oz. New York strip steak ($18.95).
Vu's aestheticians indulge clients with an array of body-beautification services. Treat cheeks to an express facial, a custom 25-minute procedure designed to rejuvenate all skin types, whether oily, sensitive, or carved from a large pumpkin. During the speedy treatment, faces blossom thanks to a deep cleansing and light exfoliation, and a peel and treatment mask reinvigorate surfaces. Afterward, faces radiate with a healthy glow, ready to dazzle passersby or illuminate spelunking expeditions. Patrons can show off posttreatment expressions with a visit to Vu Bistro—the spa's adjoining restaurant—which offers an upscale dining experience with panoramic views of the Mesa.