Cowboy Ciao's Lester Gonzalez Dishes on Food Truck Fantasies and His Love/Hate Relationship With the Bacon Obsession
Katie Johnson Lester Gonzalez, executive chef at Cowboy Ciao
7133 E. Stetson Drive
This is part one of our interview with Lester Gonzalez, executive chef at Cowboy Ciao. Check back on Tuesday to learn more about one of Scottsdale's busiest chefs, including his kitchen pet peeve and the one comfort food he wishes he could re-create.
Lester Gonzalez is one laid-back dude. Upon meeting him, you'd have no idea that the guy's spinning multiple plates, all of them full. As executive chef at Cowboy Ciao, Gonzalez isn't only responsible for overseeing the kitchen at its original Old Town Scottsdale location, as well as all the holiday events they've got scheduled (last week, the restaurant hosted 11 private events in five days), he's also accountable for making sure things run smoothly at their new location in the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.
Cowboy Ciao Cowboy Ciao in Old Town Scottsdale
Barely a month old, this travel sized Cowboy Ciao has undergone some major changes, all of which have been tended to by Gonzalez himself. With a new kitchen, new dishes, and a new staff in need of some high-level training, Gonzalez's time is definitely sliced thin.
But Gonzalez couldn't be more excited (if not a little exhausted) with the new expansion. "It's brand new, so it's always fun to see things develop from start to finish." And Gonzalez has already seen his fair share of changes at Cowboy Ciao. He's been with the restaurant for 11 years, starting out in the pantry, working his way up to sous chef at sister spot Kazimierz, and ultimately returning to take the lead at Ciao.
7133 E. Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ
3400 Sky Harbor Blvd., Phoenix, AZ
7137 E. Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ
4747 E. Bell Road, Phoenix, AZ
7125 E. 5th Ave., Scottsdale, AZ