Chef Salad Highlights: The Funny, Astute and Provocative Comments Our Local Chefs Made in 2012

chef salad collage.jpg
Nikki Buchanan
Clockwise from top right: Beau MacMillan, Lori Hashimoto, Payton Curry, Josh Hebert.

If you've been reading Chef Salad here at Chow Bella for a while, you've probably gleaned a few tasty nuggets about your favorite chefs: what they like to eat and where, the colleagues they admire, the mentors they've learned from and their views on trends and celebrity. As the interviewer, I've been fascinated by their differences (no two snowflakes and all that) but also their similarities.

See also:
Chow Bella's 12 Most Popular Phoenix Food and Restaurant Stories of 2012

Twenty-eight interviews in, I've figured out a few things: Chefs aren't afraid of hard work and long hours, but they play hard, too. They like their environment to be neat and orderly but accept the blood, grease and smelly stuff that comes with their job. They respect authority and expect the same in the people who work for them, but the good ones are often rebels at heart. There's a lot more I could say about the metro Phoenix chefs I've talked to this year, but their own comments tell the story best. Here are a few of the memorable things they said in 2012.

(And check back next week for part two of our Chef Salad Highlights.)

Larry White --eating chicken.jpg
Buchanan
Larry (Lo-Lo) White Jr.
Larry (Lo-Lo) White Jr., owner of Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles

One food you can't live without: Fried chicken. My wife made baked chicken at home on Monday. On Tuesday, she asked me what I wanted for dinner and I said "chicken." She said, "We just had that." It doesn't have to be fried. It could be baked, rotisseried or grilled. I just love chicken. Every once in a while, I go through the KFC line with dark glasses and a hat on. I love that original recipe.

What's your favorite piece of chicken?: The breast. I like to get to the back of the breast, suck that seasoning off the bone. People say I pick a chicken bone clean. When I'm through with it, that bone looks like it's been in the desert for a week -- like the lions have eaten it, then the vultures came, then the rats and then the ants. I leave a piece of chicken like the ants have got to it.

Lori Hashimoto, Sushi chef and co-owner of Hana Japanese Eatery

What makes a good sushi chef?: Attention to detail, patience and passion. Plating takes a lot of patience. Presentations are spatial. Everything is focused on the middle of the plate and that's where everything should be mountainous. The ends of the plate should be wide and open. I've been eating American food my whole life, but now I see the plate as a landscape.

You've mentioned humility before: Yeah, you don't ever say, "I got it!" There's always more to learn. You're always in the middle, saying, "I'm really not that good." That's the Japanese way. You stick out a little bit and someone's there to nail you back down.


Location Info

Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles

2765 N. Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Hana Japanese Eatery

5524 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

NoRTH

4925 N. 40th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Christopher's Restaurant and Crush Lounge

2502 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Petite Maison

7216 E. Shoeman Lane, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Citizen Public House

7111 E. 5th Ave. Ste. E., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Brat Haus

3622 N. Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Tarbell's

3213 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Binkley's Restaurant

6920 E. Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek, AZ

Category: Restaurant


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1 comments
Victoria Corrigan
Victoria Corrigan

A great compendium; looking forward to part 2. And never thought most of my restaurant orders would end with "and please hold the truffle oil". Talk about overuse; it's starting to give HFCS a run for its money. (Hmmm... let's all meet at AJ's and slap GMO labels on every trufflated product we see...)

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