Mark Tarbell to host ‘Check, Please! Arizona’

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PHOENIX – (Sept. 19, 2016)

Mark Tarbell, an award-winning Arizona chef and restaurateur featured on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America,” is the new host of Arizona PBS’s four-time Emmy-winning series “Check, Please! Arizona.”

Tarbell, who owns Tarbell’s restaurant, The Tavern and The Wine Store in Phoenix, will kick off Season 7 of “Check, Please! Arizona” in January 2017. As host, Tarbell will moderate lively roundtable discussions with Arizona residents on their dining-out experiences across the state.

“I love food, I love restaurants and I love the Valley,” said Tarbell. “I also love PBS. This is right up there with my excitement when I was asked to do Iron Chef America and some of the other national opportunities. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the community of chefs and restaurants. I’m excited to get out and experience some of these new places that ‘Check, Please! Arizona’ discovers.”

“Check, Please! Arizona” is Arizona PBS’s highest-rated locally produced series. It features a diverse lineup of the Valley’s dining destinations, from four-star resorts to eclectic ethnic restaurants and happy-hour hotspots. It also includes episodes highlighting tourist-friendly road-trip destinations throughout the state.

On “Check, Please! Arizona,” every weekly episode has three new guest reviewers. Each recommends his or her favorite restaurant and then each guest visits all three restaurants to see what they think. Then they all get together and discuss their experiences on camera.

“We couldn’t be happier that Mark will be joining us for Season 7 as our new host,” said Arizona PBS CEO Christopher Callahan. “Mark is a world-class chef and enjoys dining, meeting people and talking about food. We’re thrilled to welcome him as the new host.”

Mark Tarbell

Tarbell, the only winning challenger on Season 5 of “Iron Chef America,” has received numerous awards and honors over his career. He was nominated for “Best Chef – Southwest” by the James Beard Foundation, and his restaurants have earned more than 50 “Best Of” city and industry awards, including a “Best Restaurant” from Food and Wine magazine. He also is a two-time inductee into the Arizona Hall of Culinary Fame as both a chef and as a media master.

In addition to his “Iron Chef America” appearance, Tarbell has been featured on other Food Network programs, including “Cooking Live with Sarah Moulton” and “Ready-Set-Cook.” He also has appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “TODAY” as well as FOX and Lifetime programs.

Tarbell has been the wine columnist for the Arizona Republic since 2004 and was the wine columnist for Arizona Foothills magazine for eight years. He has been published in numerous local and national magazines including Wine & Spirits, Food Arts and Desert Living. He is a contributing author to “Celebrity Chefs Across America” by Anthony Dias Blue and “Healthy Hearts for Dummies” by James M. Rippe. He also contributed recipes for “Chris Carmichael’s Fitness Cookbook.”

Tarbell studied in Paris at the Ecole du Cuisine La Varenne where he earned a Grande Diplôme d’Etude Culinaire. His education also took him to Steven Spurrier’s l’Academie du Vin, followed by stagieres at various Paris locations. By the age of 23, he became the youngest food and beverage director of any Five Diamond property in the world at The Boulders in Carefree, Arizona.

Tarbell’s signature restaurant was featured in Season 2 of “Check, Please! Arizona.” He said the experience was enjoyable and brought in a surprising number of new guests.

“These days it’s so hard to get interesting, quality coverage that’s thoughtful,” he said. “And interestingly, the people who came in were fascinating people. They were very much into food, they knew exactly why they were there, because it had been reviewed, there was a lot of understanding about what they were expecting, and it was great to meet these people that came in as a result of being on ‘Check, Please! Arizona.’” said Tarbell.

Season 7 of the series is currently in production. By the end of the season, nearly 250 local Arizona restaurants will have been featured on the show.

Restaurants featured on “Check, Please! Arizona” are nominated by local viewers not affiliated with the restaurant. All featured restaurants must be local to Arizona, independently owned and have been in business for a minimum of two years.

Fans can nominate their favorite eatery for future episodes, view previous shows online, view an interactive map of restaurant locations, post reviews of restaurants featured on the show and even obtain recipes. They can also view exclusive behind-the-scenes videos and outtakes, as well as post their own photos from their dining experiences at featured restaurants on the program’s Facebook page.

“Check, Please! Arizona” is an Arizona PBS original production made possible by BestDentalCareAZ.com, Whitfill Nursery, Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers and Lawns by Les.

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