Best of Phoenix

Top Chef: Jack Strong

Talk about the best of both worlds. As chef de cuisine at Kai, the fine-dining establishment at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa, Jack Strong's got a primo perch on the culinary career ladder. After all, he benefits from working with two big names — consulting chef Janos Wilder (a James Beard award winner) and executive chef Michael O'Dowd — and gets to bask in the sparkle of the restaurant's coveted AAA Five Diamond Award. But since the resort is part of the Gila River Indian Community, Strong, who hails from Oregon's Confederated Tribes of Siletz, also manages to stay connected to his Native American heritage. His unusual background makes him distinctly qualified to cook up the creative Southwestern fare that Kai is famous for. Whether it's chanterelles or cholla buds, Strong dishes it up with style.

I arrived in Phoenix and was amazed by the weather and desert beauty.

When I’m stuck in traffic, I listen to Jack Johnson.

On Saturday night, you can find me at work then having a late dinner.

My favorite thing about summer in Phoenix is taking my vacation when we close in August, visiting family and friends.

The one dessert I refuse to eat is anything boring.

In high school, I was the kid who was the shy guy.

In another life, I was a professional basketball player.

On my nightstand, you’ll find food magazines and my tribal newsletter.

The fictional character I’m most like is Gohan from Dragon Ball Z.

One thing I want to do before I die is take my grandmother on a real vacation.

The best thing about Phoenix is the people!! I have met a lot of great people here.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michele Laudig
Contact: Michele Laudig