Join us in this week's Chef Chat as we venture inside Roka Akor, Scottsdale's posh Japanese steak and sushi restaurant.
How did you find yourself working at Roka Akor?
I was going to go to a Fleming's [steak house] interview for like, a sous chef position and I couldn't find the place because I didn't know the area very well. I was just driving up and down...and this was in 2008 when they just built Roka, so I just pulled in here and walked in the back and I was like, "Who's the chef?" I talked to Bjoern Weissgerber, one of my other mentors and worked with him for about a good year and a half. We had a whole team from London that came over here. So these guys worked at Fat Duck, they worked at the top five restaurants in the world. Chef Ce Bian who opened Chicago...it was basically a team of culinary gurus and I happened to fall in their laps and I learned from everybody.
I got ten years of experience in like, two or three years it seems. Like a roller coaster.
And how did you develop your career from there?
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Eugene's a very small town. It's a college town but it's like nothing spectacular. I worked at all the best restaurants in a matter of a year. So I came out here. Sold all my stuff and came out here with my clothes, my guitar and my knives. I was going to go to school and I started working with Anton Brunbauer (