Chef Andrew Nienke of Cafe Monarch on His Field of Dreams and What The Phoenix Food Scene Is Still Missing
If the food at Cafe Monarch was a song it would be: "All You Need is Love" by the Beatles
Three things you can't cook without: Good olive oil, butter and vinegar (salt is just a given).
The best thing about the Phoenix food scene...has to be the abundance of breakfast spots. When my wife and me first started dating we both worked in kitchens so we went out to breakfast a lot, because we didn't have to be at work until about 11. Breakfast has kind of become our thing.
One thing the Phoenix food scene is missing...is a sense of community. I've only been here a year but there doesn't seem to be a bar or coffee shop where chefs get together and talk shop. I think that if we all got together on Monday evenings and compared ideas talked about what is in season and so forth it would do nothing but drive everyone to be better and serve better food. If there is and I'm just out of the loop will someone stop by the Cafe and tell me.
Four places in the Valley where you want to eat are...Citizen Public House, Chef Bernie is an amazing guy who puts out really good food, I love that place. I also really love Sushi Roku, Chef Shin is a wonder with fish, he made my wife some stuff when she was pregnant that I was jealous of. I really want to try out Binkley's, I haven't had the opportunity yet but I've been told that that place is amazing. I've also heard extraordinary things about Shin Bay. I really want to try that place out. But I can't leave Searsucker out either. It's amazing.
The food trend that you're totally over...is ego. It seems today not enough people are cooking to make themselves famous. Or, as opposed to cooking for the guest, are expecting the diners to eat to them.
The next big movement in the culinary world...needs to be not following trends and cooking what you feel. People are always going to need to follow someone or thing, people need to label and be labeled. But in my eyes that is lack of creativity. People just need to cook what fits their heart and the dinning room they are cooking for.
Where do you see yourself in five years: I expect to be cooking my heart out at Cafe Monarch. I love this restaurant and I very much look forward to feeding the people who are going to dine here.