Sous Chef Nick Sheley's no stranger to working with local farmers -- he used to be one.
Sheley grew up on a farm in Iowa, which he says was a big influence in his love for simple, organic foods. At his current gig under Payton Curry at Boa Bistro, Sheley helps coordinate between the restaurant and local farms like Maya's and Superstition to get everyday menu ingredients.
While the restaurant scene was never his ultimate plan, Sheley has been in the industry for 13 years and has been a part of the opening of seven restaurants. You'd assume he was keeping the secret of opening successful place, but Sheley says he's still trying to figure it out:
"I wish there was a secret ingredient that would make a place successful I've worked in restaurants that I thought had that extra spark and didn't end up lasting. But I've also been in restaurants that aren't as great, but last forever because they found their niche and I think that's a huge part in what we're trying to do here at Boa."
Beyond farming and restaurant secrets, Sheley joins us today to talk about his latest foodgasm and his views of the Phoenix food scene.
Last Foodgasm: Oh god. I just had one at Binkley's. I had their Fois Gras Three Ways. [Kevin Binkley] even did a milkshake with foie gras ... Wow, I'm getting the chills thinking about it.
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Current Pet Peeve: Yelp. I like the concept, it's nice that everyday people can share their experiences. But it's unfortunate that one online review can really have an effect on the success of a restaurant and that if the kitchen has one bad night or one mistake in a dish, then it gets blown out of proportion.
Phoenix Food Scene needs more: I think we're headed in the right direction. A lot of chefs are getting in touch with local farmers and improving the local economy and community. The hard part is getting customers to embrace what we're doing and notice the difference between our ingredients and the ingredients Applebee's uses.
Phoenix Food scene needs less: television-trained chefs. People that watch Top Chef on Bravo and then go out to eat and say, "You know, this is good but I don't agree with the way you presented this or the way these ingredients were used together."
(This was part two of our Chef Chat with Nick Sheley of Boa Bistro. Check out part one and stay tuned for a recipe tomorrow.)