Dean Delgado of Ncounter

Tempe welcomed the chic, urban sibling of Mesa's well-known breakfast joint, T.C. Egginton's, to the corner of Mill Ave and Third St.

For the past six weeks, Ncounter has been serving up breakfast and lunch to everyone from the hungover starving college student, to the busy business suit crowd. It's hip, it's trendy, it's friendly -- but it's also almost nothing like T.C.'s. So where did Thom, Kathy and the rest of the Coker clan get the inspiration for their latest venture?

We sat down with Executive Chef Dean/Deano Delgado to find out.

How'd you start your culinary career?
Pretty much, I didn't really have any other interests. I like football and stuff like that...but this was just it.

Training and discovering T.C.'s
I worked under a French chef for two years named Michele...and then I met Thom (Coker) over at T.C.'s. I only did part-time for him for like, 8 months but I kept in touch. Then he called me and wanted me to go on full-time as manager. It was hard because Michele wanted me to go with him and learn pastries, but I couldn't do it. He was upset with me, a little bit, but I just said this was a good opportunity for me and I went for it. And I worked at T.C.'s from like '86 to...uh, well, five weeks ago. And here I am at Ncounter.

The Ncounter Xperience
This is different [from T.C.'s] in the way that all the sauces here are from scratch. And everything that we serve, the burrito, the egg sandwiches, the signature sandwiches, the salad dressings -- they're all done from scratch. At T.C.'s, its not so much laid out like that. I think there are a few sauces that we created over there but mostly [they're] not as elaborate as we get over here.

Did you have a hand in creating those signature sauces?
On the sauces, yeah it was pretty much me that came up with it. I'm pretty humble though so I don't want to take all the credit...Usually Thom tells me. "I need this sauce." so I make something and if he likes it, he says, "Ok good job." If he doesn't, I go back to the drawing board.

Did your training under a French chef serve as inspiration? You have things like the croque-monsieur on the menu.
Yes, although that's not what inspired the croque. A lot of philosophies for the business I got from him. Things like that it's just not cooking in the culinary industry. When you're in the kitchen...there's a lot of teamwork and orchestrating that people don't see. We have to help orchestrate and balance so we can all work as a team. That's our philosophy here at Ncounter; we are family/team oriented and our main objective is to be the best we can be for the customer and just put out a quality product every time.

Check back tomorrow for the rest of our talk with Chef Delgado.

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