Kelly Fletcher of House of Tricks on Thomas Keller, Chris Bianco, and What They'll Say About Him When He's Dead and Gone
This is part two of my interview with Kelly Fletcher, executive chef at House of Tricks in Tempe. If you missed part one, where Fletcher praised his favorite local chefs, told us about the best food he's had this year and predicted what will be the next big thing, read it here.
Buchanan Kelly Fletcher at the garden gate
-- Chris Bianco Opens Full-Blown Pizzeria Bianco at Town & Country; Italian Restaurant Moves to Back Dining Room and Morphs to Trattoria Bianco
-- Ankimo, the Foie Gras of Japan, Gets a Modern Tweak at Hana
You describe House of Tricks as New American. What kind of latitude does the term give you?: "New American" isn't just an open window; it's a house without walls. No cuisine is safe from what I do. If there is a Korean flavor that I love, I'll fuse it with Spanish flair. I love what every country and region in the world brings to the table.
Buchanan Master of his domain
Is New American just a catch-all phrase for "anything goes"?: Absolutely, and I'm very thankful for that.
You've been at House of Tricks over nine years. How has the restaurant changed/evolved in that time?: I think that the food keeps moving in different directions, which keeps us exciting. Ryan Brown, who is our wine director, has brought so much diversity to our wine list that it's easy to find something that will pair with the menu. Also having great people to work with and work for has made it a true standout restaurant in that period of time for me.
Name two or three chefs who helped define New American Cuisine: I think that Thomas Keller really brought a lot of game when he opened The French Laundry. He brought so much French sensibility and style but then allowed room for whimsical little twists to his cuisine. Jean-Georges did the same thing with his French background and his love for Asian flavors. Both of them are very inspiring when you think about the flavors that they play with and their youthful approach to food.