Justin Pioche is an Ashihii Dine’ who is born for the Bit’ahnii people (Navajo Nation) and the owner of the Pioche Food Group. His most formative food memory comes from his grandmother Lorene. He had one piece of her hot frybread and pea soup made from fresh produce planted in her garden, and he was hooked. He knew he wanted to pursue cooking early in his life; during his senior year in high school, he placed 3rd in a National cooking competition. He later became a proud graduate of the Arizona Culinary Institute in Scottsdale, Arizona. He has many culinary titans who have served as strong mentors and have heavily influenced his career, including the Executive Chef of Sanctuary on Camelback in Paradise Valley, Beau MacMillan , Chef Kevin Binkley of Binkley’s in Phoenix, Chef Brandon Gauthier of Confluence in Cave Creek and Chef Ryan Pitt of Josephine also in Phoenix. Justin’s passion for cooking continues to grow along with his respect for his people’s history, and his goal is to learn as much as possible while developing professionally. Navajo food, the food of his people, is more than just about survival and sustenance; he believes it is the essence of healing, beauty, and humility. Justin was a 2023 James Beard Nominee for Best Chef in the Southwest Region.