Best Departing Chef

Martin Swindells at The Dish

Staff Pick

The story is now a part of Tucson culinary lore: A few years ago, Jennifer Elchuck and Tom Smith, owners of The RumRunner and its in-house bistro, The Dish, found themselves suddenly without a chef coming out of the restaurant's summer hiatus. Lo and behold, Martin Swindells—a veteran of 58 Degrees and Holding Co. and Wildflower—walked into the shop. Turns out the Australia native was looking for work—and work, he got, right on the spot. In the three-plus years since that serendipitous meeting, Swindells has strengthened The Dish's reputation as one of Tucson's finest restaurants, doing amazing things with duck, fish and other proteins. Well, a while back, sweet serendipity again hit Swindells' life, when an Australian out-of-towner walked into The Dish for dinner. That businessman eventually made Swindells a job offer he couldn't refuse, meaning that Swindells will be soon moving back to Australia; he'll be working his last couple of days at The Dish when this Best of Tucson® issue hits the streets. The Dish will go on as a Tucson fave—Elchuck and Smith will make sure of that—but Swindells will be missed.

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