Chef Chat: Greg LaPrad of Quiessence (part two)

Quiessence Executive Chef Greg LaPrad with Chef de Cuisine, Anthony Andiario.
Quiessence Executive Chef Greg LaPrad with Chef de Cuisine, Anthony Andiario.

Yesterday we heard from Chef Greg LaPrad of Quiessence. Today the conversation continues.

Chef LaPrad describes his own kitchen as boot camp.

The hand full of cooks and chefs in the kitchen are constantly reinventing the menu and their recipes -- it's a new menu every day. "It's hard work for every person back here. But I know each cook and chef leaves this kitchen with a huge set of skills and knowledge."

He met his Chef de Cuisine, Anthony Andario, at the now-defunct Michael's at the Citadel in Scottsdale. The two share similar philosophies on ingredients and preparation, so it was a no brainer when Andario was asked to join the crew at Quiessence.

LaPrad joins us today to cover industry night, his own roots in food and what's in his fridge.

Culinary Childhood: definitely developed when I was growing up. I cooked most of the meals from my family at 10, 11 and 12. My parents were divorced and I was living with my mom. She didn't like cooking that much, so I really liked cooking for my own family. At my dad's house, cooking was our activity on a Saturday or Sunday. To tell you the truth, I would actually obsess as a kid about the perfect tomato sauce and what made the perfect recipe.

On Industry Night: Being in South Phoenix, we're really isolated from the "hip" food scene. Plus, I'm not into the whole after-work nightlife culinary scene that exists for a lot of restaurants in Scottsdale and Downtown.

In your fridge: Not much. There would usually be more stuff, but I'm in the middle of moving. I literally have a fridge in my new place with nothing in it.

This season's overrated Ingredient: Always exotic imported ingredients like fancy almonds and different salts from the far reaches of the world. They're good and they have their place but sometimes I think they're a little much, especially when that's everything on the menu.

(This was part two of our interview with Greg LaPrad of Quiessence, check out part one and stay tuned for one of LaPrad's recipes tomorrow... )

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