Stephen Jones Explains Why Fried Bologna Is on the Menu and Whistling Is Never Allowed in the Kitchen
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Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails
Hotel Palomar, CityScape
2 E. Jefferson Street, Phoenix
This is part one of my interview with Stephen Jones, executive chef of Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails. Come back tomorrow to see what he says about cooking at Nobu in Vegas and why Bob Marley's in the kitchen in part two!
Stephen Jones dreamed of being a football star until an injury took him out of the game. But these days, instead of throwing the pigskin, he's more likely to cook it as the executive chef at the recently opened Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails. Influenced by his grandmother and a chef uncle at an early age, Jones grew up in the kitchen but never considered cooking as a career. That changed the day he simply decided that attending culinary school made sense for a guy with his predilections.
He signed up for Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, California and while helping in the kitchen at a charity event, worked alongside Michael Cimarusti of Water Grill.
Cimarusti was so impressed with the student's humble, head-down approach that he offered him a job. Jones worked at Water Grill through culinary school, moving to Las Vegas to find a position at Nobu after graduation. He later jumped to Bradley Ogden, where his good friend worked, before following that same friend to Chicago and MK.
It was there he met the woman who would become his fiancée, an Arizona native who was ready to get back home. "She was very strategic," Jones laughs, pointing out that she took him to Sea Saw and Pizzeria Bianco to convince him that Phoenix was a viable food town. Jones moved to Arizona in 2008, where his first gig was as consulting chef for BLT Steak.
Soon after, he took the chef de cuisine position at Tarbell's, where he stayed for nearly a year and a half before moving to the Latilla at The Boulders, which he calls a "different beast." Apparently, it's a beast he can handle because Jones happily accepted the executive chef position at Blue Hound when the Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group came knocking.