Aaron May Dishes On Being a Chef, a Restaurateur and a Party Boy
|Courtesy of King Lawrence|
|Mussels and fries at Praying Monk|
By the time he was 20, he'd left U of A and his political science degree to enroll in the culinary arts program at Scottsdale Community College. Upon graduation, he moved to Paris, where he spent a year at L'Ecole Ritz Escoffier, refining his skills as a classically trained chef.
When he returned to the States, he took his first professional position at the Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale, working at Crescent Moon and Acacia (the property's fine dining restaurant) before moving to Deseo at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa to work with celebrity chef Douglas Rodgriguez. May spent another two years with Rodriguez, traveling with him and working at his various restaurants in Manhattan (including Ola), all the while being mentored in the modern, deconstructionist approach to cooking he employs today.
A stint at Mario Batali's Casa Mono was finishing school for May, who moved back to the Valley to open his own Spanish tapas restaurant (Sol y Sombra) to rave reviews in 2006. Since then, he has opened a string of restaurants -- Over Easy, The Lodge, Mabel's on Main, May's Counter and Praying Monk -- closing four of them: Sol y Sombra, Autostrada, Vitamin T and Iruña. In 2010, he was inducted into the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame as "Chef Extraordinaire."