We had the good fortune of connecting with Phil Madison and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Phil, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
Definitely consistency and getting out of your norm. Instagram food pages can sizzle out very easily, or become so repetitive that you constantly have to provide new experiences. Every week I am thinking about what restaurant or bar I have not been to, or maybe it’s been a really long time since my last visit. When looking at the menu I find myself trying to find something that not just looks good to eat or drink, but maybe something I have never tried before or it that might look really good on camera. You see so many food pictures – incredible pictures being taken – and it’s very tempting to try and replicate that shot, but I would say try not to steer too far from what makes your pictures different. I want people to share the experiences I am having through my eyes and how I see a food or beverage item through my camera.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Food is art and in the industry, everyday restaurants are providing masterpieces. The biggest challenge is really giving the food and beverages the credit they deserve through the picture that I am taking. I pride myself on presenting these dishes not through a filter but through the natural lens of the camera. No editing, no apps no filters, just that natural shot. If I have to change the picture with the wonders of technology that cameras now provide, I did not do my job. That is how I got to where I am now, one picture at a time, and the lessons never stop. Every new restaurant, new table, and new menu provides a lesson on how to bring the picture to life more than the last time. That’s what I love about this. Every day presents something new. If the world could read my story, I would want them to read about how much love and hospitality is (put forth?) in these locally owned restaurants. They are a part of the neighborhood, the community. The bartender will be the difference between regularly visiting or just coming in once n a while. The restaurants bring a unique energy and light to a neighborhood that cannot be created by anything else. My story is their story and my page is meant to be the doorway for the entire world to come in and look inside.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Bring your appetite! Uptown Phoenix has become somewhat of a hot spot for locally owned restaurants. The choices are endless and what makes it even (better?), the majority of them are incredible no matter what time of the day it is. Brunch, Lunch, Dinner or Happy Hour (sometimes you capitalize lunch/dinner/happy hour, sometimes not – they do not need to be capitalized or they can be, but I would keep it the same throughout), the biggest question is, “Where to next?” If you have ever visited my food page on Instagram you will notice that I end every post with the same question, #WhereToNext. It’s very catchy, and it’s also very true. The question comes up often when I am just not ready to go home yet. Let’s start the vacation with one of my favorite foods, sushi! For a truly authentic Japanese experience I would definitely take you to Hana Japanese Eatery. Even though it is BYOA (Bring your own alcohol), the menu makes it well worth it. If fresh fish is not your thing, their grilled and fried options will not let you down. Another sushi restaurant that has a more modern, upbeat vibe that I love to visit is Sushi Vibe at Uptown Plaza. Try the Yellowtail Ponzu! Do you enjoy New Mexican cuisines? Richardson’s and Dick’s Hideaway are great choices. Dick’s opens at 7 a.m. if you are one of those early birds. Forgive me for being all over the map, but in Uptown, you have different parts of the world all located in this one small part of town. For Mexican food, especially on Taco Tuesday’s, Revolu Modern Taqueria & Bar has some of the best tacos in Phoenix, and was recently recognized by Phoenix Magazine. La Pinata, Rito’s & Otro Cafe are also some of my personal favorites. Are you a Food Network fan? If you are, then you are no stranger to Chef Scott Conant. Taste his award winning food at Mora Italian. You will see why he has such a huge love for Italian flavors. While I am on the subject of Italian flavors, Federal Pizza and Parlor Pizzeria will never do you wrong. Veggie, meat lover, build your own pizza…both spots are super chill and friendly, perfect for any occasion. It’s probably time for a break from food and to get ready for a drink or two. Now just fyi, everywhere I have mentioned so far are always great destinations for happy hour. Like I said in the beginning, so many places are great to visit regardless of the time of day. The first Happy Hour bar is going to be your good ol hole in the wall dive bar…. Dodey’s on 7th Street. Don’t be scared of the label, the bartenders are some of the friendliest people you will ever have the pleasure to meet on your trip. A special shout out to the bartender, Lauren, who goes by Lo – probably the most aware and attentive barten
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am very thankful to be able to give a shout out to my wife. The idea of starting a food Instagram page really just naturally evolved from some incredible restaurants she would introduce me to. Going out for brunch, lunch, dinner or happy hour quickly became one of our favorite activities to share together. She recognized all of the positive feedback that our food pictures would receive after sharing, and it didn’t take long for it to become a big inspiration for starting my food page, YourPhixInPhx.