For the past two years, Sacha Levine has been at Scottsdale's Rancho Pinot working with chef Chrysa Robertson. But now the up-and-coming Levine is headed to Quiessence at the Farm at South Mountain to be sous chef with chef Dustin Christofolo, who took over this fall after the restaurant's chef and sous chef left to pursue other things.
"I wanted more responsibility," Levine says. "I haven't been a sous chef for two years now, since I left FnB."
Levine says she knew Quiessence would be a good fit because of her familiarity with farm-to-table food and experience working at Singh Farms. She was there for a short time after leaving FnB as a sous chef and before starting at Rancho Pinot.
This week will be her last at Rancho Pinot, and Levine says she hasn't been working at FnB for about a month now. The move also means she'll be shutting down her line of pickled products called Green Thumb, which were being sold at FnB's adjacent market, Bodega. The good news is you'll still be able to taste her awesome pickling skills at Quiessence.
Though the restaurant's new menu was mostly completed by Christofolo before Levine joined the crew, she says, they're still tweaking things in preparation for the fall opening. Levine will be taking the reins on the charcuterie -- and pickling, of course -- as well as lending a hand with the Maya's Foraged Garden menu Christofolo announced earlier this month. The special menu will feature a single product foraged or found by Maya Dailey or at Maya's Farm, Levine says, adding that she's already thinking about starting it out with radishes.
"I'm really into collaboration," Levine says. "So I think it's going to be a really good opportunity to do that with Dustin, since's he's kind of new."
And it's true the two chefs have quite an act to follow since chef Greg LaPrad and sous chef Tony Andiario left. LaPrad was at the restaurant for eight seasons and played an important role in turning Quiessence into a true dining destination, as well as in cultivating the local and seasonal dining trends in Arizona.
The move to Quiessence also will give Levine more time to focus (and have fun with) her side project, a series of pop-up dinners called Backyard Jamboree. The dinner series, which will run through the end of the year, kicked off last weekend with a pumpkin-themed event. The next dinner will be held November 25 and will be called Na'cho Average Cinema Club. Check out the whole schedule here.
Quiessence plans to re-open for the season on Tuesday, November 12. For more information visit the Quiessence restaurant website.