Steven "Chops" Smith Dishes on Chris Curtiss and Sends a Love Note to the Boys at Citizen
This is part two of my interview with Steven "Chops" Smith, executive chef at Searsucker. If you missed part one, where Smith dishes about the weirdest thing he ever ate and why he loves Japanese cuisine, read it here.
Buchanan Chops at the bar
Favorite thing to eat growing up: Hot dogs.
Favorite thing to eat now: Chicago dogs and anything with foie gras.
What really turns you off when you're dining at a restaurant?: Dirty restrooms.
Name one of your favorite places to dine in Phoenix and explain why:
Buchanan Tomahawk ribeye + cognac + horseradish
Citizen Public House. I love Bernie, Richie and Andrew. Citizen is one of the best restaurants in town. They're running on all cylinders from food and drink to service. Not many places in town can achieve all three simultaneously.
Name a national/international chef you greatly admire and explain why: Thomas Keller. Who hasn't been moved by him in one way or another?
What people don't really know/understand about you is: I don't hate you, I just want it my way and I want it NOW!!!
Malarkey says he wants you to work WITH him, not FOR him, and that collaboration is crucial. How will Searsucker have your imprint over time?: Only time will tell.
What do you hope to achieve there?: To continue what Brian and his team have started and to breathe new life into the local dining scene on a large scale.
You've done fine dining and casual fine dining. What are the positives of each?: Fine dining taught me discipline, but casual is now the way of the world. Fine dining is dying, but I miss it.
Name a culinary mentor and explain what you learned from that person: SPEED in small spaces. Chris Curtiss taught me a lot about how to have fine dining savvy with a casual sensibility. He was a great culinary partner.