Ehren Litzenberger of BLD in Chandler on Simplicity, Chocolate-Covered Grasshoppers, and Who We Can Blame For "Foodie" Obnoxiousness

Litzenberger with his face in a sandwich
Ehren Litzenberger
1920 W. Germann Road, Chandler

See also:
-- Cork Earns Wine Honors From OpenTable
-- Chou's Kitchen in Chandler Makes Travel + Leisure's List of Best Chinese Restaurants in the U.S.

This is part one of my interview with Ehren Litzenberger, executive chef at BLD in Chandler. Come back Tuesday when Litzenberger dishes on Mario Batali, Claudio Urciuoli, and where he eats Thai.

You might say Ehren Litzenberger walked into his executive chef position at BLD through the back door. You see, back in 2011, when the four-month-old restaurant was foundering, BLD owners Robert and Danielle Morris (who also own upscale Cork in Chandler) called Litzenberger to act as consultant and fixer. He came, he analyzed and he recommended sweeping changes -- so many, in fact, that the couple finally said, "Oh, hell, why don't you just run the show?" Litzenberger accepted and has been turning out three squares a day (no easy pace) ever since.

Why Litzenberger, who clearly has a goofy streak, as evidenced in the picture above? The Morrises met him years earlier at Lon's at the Hermosa, where the three worked together: Robert as sommelier, Danielle as pastry chef, Ehren as line cook. Clearly, the first two had faith in the third's abilities -- as well they should have. He's been at this cooking thing a while now, working for a slew of the city's celebrity chefs. In fact, he's the classic behind-the-scenes guy who gets the job done without a lot of notoriety or fanfare.

Litzenberger got his start in the restaurant business as a 17-year-old busboy at the Sheraton San Marcos, heading for the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco after graduation, where he worked part time at Kuleto's on Union Square. He returned to Phoenix to intern at Wright's at the Biltmore, but his career took a detour when he got in a serious accident, broke his femur and couldn't stand on his leg (as chefs must) for hours on end. He bounced around for a while, trying his hand at electrical work and accounting before heading back into the kitchen as lead line cook for Mark Tarbell at Barmouche.

Location Info

BLD Restaurant

1920 W. Germann Road, Chandler, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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I worked with this nimrod at Sassi a while back. He didn't work under Peter DeRuvo. He was hired as Sous after Pete quit. A couple of weeks later, they hired Chris Nicosia. So he only "worked" under Chris for about 6 months or so. He was the laziest guy I've ever worked with. He would spend all day in the office screwing around, when he worked a station he made the cooks set it up and break it down for him, then had the nerve to micromanage, interrogating the cooks as to what they had managed to accomplish during their "on the clock" time. Made people clock out if they wanted a cigarette, but spent most of his time doing a whole lot of not a damn thing. When he started getting called out about his laziness and the poor example he was setting, he snooped around a cooks facebook page until he found something to get him fired. He was there for another month or two before Chris realized he wasn't worth the $50K they were paying him and fired him. No wonder he's playing the PR game like this, on GMA, and here. He doesn't like to work. Only fitting he is the chef of a restaurant that serves burgers, meatloaf, and chicken fried steak,  with a drive thru window. He's the epitome of whats so sad about what being a chef has become.

SkilletDoux 1 Like

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