Payton Curry Dishes on the Maricopa County Health Department and His Vision for Brat Haus
This is part two of my interview with Payton Curry, chef and co-owner of the soon-to-open Brat Haus in Scottsdale. Read part one of the interview with Payton Curry here.
Nikki Buchanan Payton Curry at Brat Haus
Favorite thing to eat growing up: Grandma's lefse, freshly churned butter and sugar in the raw. Lefse is a Norwegian flatbread that is made from potato. It will change your life if you let it.
Favorite thing to eat now: My wife's pie. I could seriously stuff my entire face into that pie when it's warm and oozing, fresh out of the oven. It's quite simple -- the dates and the money honey are coming from McClendon's Select, the flour is from Hayden Flour Mill, and the eggs, which she buys at the Bodega in Old Town, come from Two Wash Ranch.
How do you feel about customers adding seasoning to your dishes: I don't care if people want to put salt and pepper on their food. Some chefs say, "My food is perfectly seasoned." And I always think, "Really? What if you have a customer who smokes a pack a day?"
Name a culinary mentor at the national level and explain what you learned from that person: Chef Michael Tusk at Quince in San Francisco. I worked there for four months for free to get my foot in the door. I cleaned shrimp, did all the bitch work, until they said, "Congratulations! You're on the payroll." I learned butchering, refined all my techniques and procedures. He changed the menu every day. We didn't have sous chefs. We had Chef and us -- five of us. I learned so much faster. It cut down on a lot of the bullshit.
A local mentor would be: Charleen Badman at FnB. She taught me organization and follow-through. She made me comfortable working as much as I do in this business. She doesn't judge you. Her philosophy is "Do what you do 100 percent of the way and be comfortable behind your apron." She also reminded me to have fun.
Who's your favorite national chef and why: Tom Douglas in Seattle (Dahlia Lounge, Etta's, Lola, Seatown, Serious Pie, Palace Kitchen). About 80 percent of his employees have full healthcare.