Currently, I’m Director of Production for Cutino Sauce Co and cofounder of KoSo Phoenix Pop Ups. Preparing to launch a new concept but keeping that “low key.”
I grew up in the Midwest, around central Illinois and Detroit, Michigan. I’ve been cooking for the last 12 years. I moved out to Arizona in 2004, to come experience a new dining scene and attend the Culinary Arts program at Scottsdale Community College.
After graduation I landed a job at The Boulders, where I first started working with Stephen Jones, whom shaped my cooking career. I then helped him to open Blue Hound Kitchen at the Hotel Palomar and Larder + the delta at Desoto Central Market.
I left Larder to take over as Chef de Cuisine for Top of the Rock at The Marriott Buttes in 2015. This was my first opportunity to showcase my style of cuisine, which I’d describe as Southern with global influences. In the summer of 2016, I departed to take sous chef position at Crudo and later Okra Cookhouse.
In late 2016, Donald Hawk and I created KoSo Phoenix Pop Ups. It’s a combination of Donald’s love of Korean food and my passion for Southern food. We’ve since done collaborations with other young chefs and with our friends from Chula Seafood. We like to explore fun flavor combinations and eclectic food.
This last summer I took a consulting role in Charleston, South Carolina, where I really dug in to the culture and food of the south. My fascination with BBQ only grew deeper as I explored some of the great whole hog places in the south. While I absolutely loved Charleston, I longed to return back to Phoenix.
When Jacob and Natalie Cutino offered me Director of Production, I decided to return to Phoenix. I’ve always believed Cutino Sauce Co. was a great product and Jacob has long been a supporter of mine. I’ve helped him off and on since the early days of Homeboys Hot Sauce and am thrilled for its future.
I’m hoping to take pop ups in Phoenix to a larger scale. I think dining has gotten repetitive and look for ways to refresh dining out. I think there’s a huge opportunity for a new type of interactive dining, where chefs can create an intimate experience between themselves and the diners. I’m working to launch a new pop up concept in the next year but until then I want to keep things low key for now.
In my free time, I love golfing, sailing, and traveling. I’m proud of my Detroit roots but have settled in to Phoenix as my new home. I think Phoenix has a ton of potential to become a great food destination as we embrace the fact we’re full of transients. I love going back to Detroit to see all the new restaurants and draw inspiration from the deep roots of its history. I’m a champion of the dining movement there and hope to bring a piece of that to Phoenix.