Chef Brian Peterson of Cork on Going Local and the Best Thing He's Ever Eaten in Phoenix
This is part two of our interview with Brian Peterson, executive chef and part owner of Cork in Chandler. Today we get the story on how this former Chicago guy learned to love living in the Valley and what he still thinks the Phoenix food scene is missing. If you missed part one, in which he talked about how the restaurant has changed since it opened, you can read it here.
Lauren Saria Chef Brian Peterson of Cork
When you consider that this shy Chicago-born chef's interest in food began with dreams of "slinging hot dogs" off a cart on a California beach, it's pretty ironic that he's made himself known for his creativity with one of the most notoriously fancy foods, foie gras.
Now, that hot dog dream dates back to when Peterson was about 5 years old, so we'll cut him some slack. Nevertheless, he says he knew he always wanted to be in the kitchen and spent a lot of his childhood learning the basics from his grandmother.
He's been quoted at least a half dozen times before calling his mother a "bad cook," so we had to ask if she's ever been offended about it.
"No," he says seriously, explaining that his mother lost her sense of smell as a child and therefore had a hard time in the kitchen.
In high school, Peterson tells us he spent a lot of time working around the food business, but never in the back of the house. He's been in food distribution, sales and the like. His first job, he recalls, was as a valet at Maggiano's, where he talked his was into the kitchen to pick the mind of the chef.
After Peterson earned his food and beverage management degree in Chicago, his parents moved to the Valley -- to Ahwatukee, to be exact. And they gave him a choice, go it alone in the big city, or join them. Like many smart young adults, he chose the latter and ended up in the Phoenix suburbs.