In celebration of Arizona’s robust independent dining scene, unique food culture, and culinary personalities, the Devour Culinary Classic is proud to announce our VIP Lounge lineup for the 2017 year.
VIP Lounge attendees enjoy all-day access to the day’s events but with additional and exclusive access to our VIP food and beverage teams in a comfortable, seated space with a bird’s-eye view of festivities. See our developing list of this year’s VIP ticket inclusions.
VIP Lounge Sponsors
CHEF LORI HASHIMOTO
Hana Japanese Eatery
Lori Hashimoto is a chef and co-owner of Hana Japanese Eatery. Lori finds inspiration by combining old world Japanese tradition with her 4th generation Japanese American heritage. Hana Japanese Eatery has been named one of the nation’s top 20 Japanese restaurants by Travel & Leisure and top 10 Arizona restaurants by Zagat. Lori and Hana Japanese are Devour Phoenix Restaurant Coalition members and long-time favorites of the Devour Culinary Classic. Read more about what she’ll be presenting in 2017 from food writer Howard Seftel here.
BARTENDER ROBERT PORTER
The Thirsty Camel
Robert studied graphic design, working for the Phoenix Suns doing the graphic boards for the stadium and later for a publishing company. He is formerly of the Army reserves, having brief forays in medical equipment sales for a chemical processing company cleaning jet engine parts and semiconductor components, and as a door-to-door salesman of home and car stereos. After transitioning to bartending, he is now an award winning mixologist with over 12 years’ experience in original cocktail design and balance, his accolades of which include carrying the reigning title of Devour Phoenix Arizona Star Bartender. Having appeared on Good Morning Arizona showcasing Super Bowl cocktails, The List TV teaching about bacon and egg theme cocktail and high tech inspired cocktails, one of the most exciting things he’s been featured in was Cimmamon Samurai film shot by filmmaker Andrew Gooi of Food Talkies. He has also been featured in The Phoenix New Times, Write on Rubee, AZ Central, Local First Arizona, 2 Geeks who Eat and Modern Times Magazine. Soon to hit store shelves across the country is his very own Cocktail Artist Premium Manhattan mix. Currently he is mixing spirits at The Phoenician’s Thirsty Camel Lounge. There, he has helped in crafting a truly special cocktail menu that highlights classic stirred libations and features signature martinis made with fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables. Early in his career, Robert was part of the staff at the legendary Trader Vic’s, where he mastered the art of exotic Tiki and Mai Tai cocktail creations. His next venture took him to the Jade Bar at the Sanctuary Resort where he mentored with Master Mixologist Ryan Magarian. During this time he honed his creative talents of blending fresh juices, herbs and spices to create truly unique crafted cocktails. Working with Iron Chef Beau Macmillan, he became accomplished at finding the perfect flavor balance to complement a meal and igniting a curiosity that would lead him to create his own signature cocktails. He hopes to see you in his current position showcasing his passion and knowledge of the classic cocktail while stirring Old Fashioneds and Sazeracs.
A member of the United States Bartenders Guild, Robert has successfully competed in several bartending competitions and regularly teaches interactive mixology classes to the delight of attendees. When he’s not busy working on his latest libation, Robert is also an accomplished artist and professional Graphic Designer. Robert takes a great deal of pride in blending creativity, technical expertise, and a desire to provide his customers with an exceptional and inspiring experience.