Posted by Mark Irvin on Nov 27, 2019
Tucson received the UNESCO designation as a Creative Cities Network City of Gastronomy in December 2015. Chef Janos Wilder, owner of DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails, The Carriage House and President of Tucson City of Gastronomy Board of Directors will discuss how we came to receive the designation, what the impact in Tucson has been over the past 3 years and future plans to leverage the designation to benefit Tucson.
Gastronomy is the nexus of food and culture. So this is not just a story of a city with great restaurants. It’s also about being in the most biodiverse region in the United States with and about having the longest continuous agricultural heritage country.  You will learn ways in which the designation is helping us grapple with food security issues, increase wages for restaurant workers, increase tourism and incubate new businesses. The designation is becoming a significant economic as sell as gastronomic force in the community.
Janos Wilder ~ Biography
Chef Janos Wilder began cooking in restaurants while in high school and continued ever since including stints in Northern California, Nashville, TN, Gold Hill, CO, Santa Fe, NM, and Bordeaux, France before moving to Tucson in 1981.
In Tucson he opened his first restaurant, the eponymous Janos Restaurant in 1983 which he operated for 30 years originally on the grounds of the Tucson Museum of Art and later at the Westin La Paloma Resort. During that period he also created and operated Wild Johnny’s Wagon, the country’s first modern food truck in 1994. In 1998 he opened J BAR, a casual Latin grill and currently is the owner of DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails and the Carriage House.
In 1990 Wilder wrote In 1990 Janos: Recipes and Tales from a Southwest Restaurant, and in 2008 he wrote The Great Chiles Rellenos Cookbook, both published by Berkeley's Ten Speed Press.
His restaurants have always ranked amongst the very best in both Tucson and nationally consistently earning AAA Four Star Awards and Mobil Four Diamond Awards for Janos Restaurant. In 2000 Wilder was named Best Chef in the Southwest by the James Beard Foundation. In 2011 Wilder was given a Local Genius Award by the Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art.
Community involvement has always been important to Wilder, a long time board member and former board chair for Native Seeds/SEARCH, currently Board President of Tucson City of Gastronomy and board member the Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Science. He also works as a consultant for Tucson Medical Center providing healthy dining recipes and videos to their patients and physicians.