Ehren Litzenberger of BLD in Chandler on Simplicity, Chocolate-Covered Grasshoppers, and Who We Can Blame For "Foodie" Obnoxiousness
Buchanan Litzenberger with his face in a sandwich
1920 W. Germann Road, Chandler
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.