June 7, 2016 Rheana Techapinyawat
As a native Arizonan raised in Mesa, Native New Yorker was THE local wing stop after a high school football game or where we would gather our group of friends for a burger and fries. Native, as we all called it, has been in Arizona for decades and you can imagine my nostalgia when I was invited to the Final Cut: Native competition held in April earlier this year. It was such a pleasure meeting the Native team and seeing the test kitchen that created all the wings I used to devour as a teen.
Held at their company headquarter in Chandler, Final Cut: Native was an employee-lead culinary competition across all 30 locations in Arizona, Montana, South Dakota, and Texas. Six semi-finalists (four from Arizona and two from Montana) were invited to HQ to battle in the best burger/sandwich and best cocktail categories, using only ingredients found in Native’s kitchens and bars. My role as a judge, along with Taryn Jeffries of Phoenix Bites, Dave Tyda of Eater AZ, Judy Harper of Phoenix Magazine, and Kelly Fulcher and Cynthia Velasco of the Native marketing team, was delicious yet it was tough to pick just one favorite from each category. Ultimately, a decision was made and the winners of the competition are as follows: Click here to continue reading