Edward Farrow of The Café at MIM Dishes About Chris Gross, Going Local and What He Learned at Kai

MIM -dessert plate.jpg
Dessert plate
Does going local increase your food costs? And do you have to worry about that in the same way a small, independent restaurant would?: I believe sourcing local lowers our costs. Everything local is picked, butchered or caught a day or so before we receive it, and thus, it has a very long shelf life, so there is less waste. It usually tastes better and has more nutritional value, so we exceed our guest's expectations. Initially, there's a bit of sticker shock, but they come back.

What percentage of your product is local?: Depending on the season, 50-90% of our consumables are sourced from within 150 miles of our café. Salt and sugar are the two big items we have not been able to source locally, but we spend a lot of time trying.

How many local farmers, ranchers, producers, and artisans do you use?: If we include brewers and vintners, 80-90. We will showcase a lot of these folks at our "A Very Vintage Valentine's Day" Event on February 14 at MIM. We're not usually open for dinner, but this will give us an opportunity to reach a different crowd.

What did you take away from your experience at Kai?: The front of the house/service team has a huge impact on how the food tastes. They can set the narrative for the evening and guide the guest to the utmost experience. They probably have a bigger influence on the food than the kitchen does. Also, having a banquet operation that financially supports a playground like Kai is critical. The loss [in food costs] needs to be made up somewhere. I have great respect for the banquet side of our business.

Name a culinary mentor and explain what you learned from that person: Christopher Gross. He demands perfection. Striving for it is not an option, and nobody gets an "off day." Passion and love for the trade.

Location Info

The Cafe at MIM

4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Quiessence Restaurant & Wine Bar

6106 S. 32nd St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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