Chad Burnett of Parc Central
The title "executive chef" means different things at different restaurants. For Parc Central's Chad Burnett, it's a soup-to-nuts kinda thing. He does it all.
Burnett has been part of everything at the Scottsdale Quarter restaurant -- from choosing a mixologist all the way down to the mundane task of figuring out labor costs.
The place is impressive, with dining rooms done in sophisticated browns and greens, with high ceilings, a grand piano and lithographs of Central Park.
Menu items at Parc Central include lobster lasagna, Welsh rarebit and black truffle hummus. Pretty fancy for a laidback 34 year old with dark plastic frame glasses and tatted up arms. We sat down with him during a busy lunch to see how things are going.
I knew I wanted to become a chef when...one of my school teachers told me you'll never have to work a day in your life if you do something you really like. This is when I was a junior in high school, but I've been cooking since the age of nine.
From Stouffer's to souffle: My cooking stayed true because my mom bought us microwave food - my parents traveled a lot. I was at home fending for myself and literally started teaching myself based on my grandmother. She taught me how to make breakfast food: omelets, pancakes, porridges.
Favorite breakfast food: I love eggs, but one of the most comforting things is actually a rice porridge with jasmine rice, cream, honey and butter.
Favorite thing to cook: Duck. I like to play with it.
Find Burnett's grandma's secret technique for scrambled eggs after the jump.
Grandma's scramble still reigns supreme: It sounds so easy, but her scrambled eggs - no one can match them. Finally, when I was like 23, I figured out how to do it. It's a technique in the pan she never showed me. She would brush the eggs with butter while keeping them in one piece.
A rocky start in Scottsdale: I did go to Scottsdale Culinary, but I was a professional chef for 10 years before I decided to go to school. My dad moved out here and I wanted to be a corporate chef and needed that piece of paper. I was like, "Cool, so I can stay with you, attend school and not have to work." I moved out here and then he got transferred, so I was already signed up for school and ended up having to work full-time.
Biggest guilty pleasure: Cereal...any kind of cereal. I usually have around five or six different kinds. I could eat bowl, after bowl, after bowl.
Best piece of advice ever received in a kitchen: Stay Humble. Chef Henri Mauhler told me that. He is the executive pastry chef at the Anatol Hotel in Dallas. We're talking about a French chef who has been around the world.
Watch out Top Chef contestants: I dabble in all types of cuisine. I actually started out as a pastry chef. I make all of my own pastries here.
A vegetarian chef, no way! You know, I cook at home a whole lot. My fiancée and I try to stay vegetarian. She also works in the industry, so it's challenging. We play around with different vegetarian dishes.
Come back for part two tomorrow.
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