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Chef Chat: Charles Wiley of Hotel Valley Ho (Part Two)

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Yesterday we heard from Chef Charles Wiley of the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale. Wiley has cooked at the James Beard House in New York, was named one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs in 1994 and regularly appears on 3TV's Your Life A to Z. Today, our chat continues...

Favorite local restaurant: Cafe Bink, run by Kevin Binkley. He embraces vegetables the way I embrace vegetables. He gets the best produce; he inspects it and prepares it perfectly. Even though I can do it myself, sometimes I don't want to. 

Do you ever eat fast food? If I'm in a pinch, I like Chipotle. I get a salad with black beans; sometimes I get some pork or chicken on it. I can finish that dish and I don't feel like I did something really bad.

Cooking for the holidays: Tradition for us is roast turkey. I always split it first. I cook the breasts until they're 165 degrees internal temperature and then leave the legs in for another half hour.

Best holiday tradition: Gingerbread. We wrapped it up in Saran Wrap overnight until the flour absorbed the liquid. I had little cardboard templates I'd cut out. The first day, we'd roll it out and cut the pieces. The next day we'd put all of the pieces together. [My daughters] would make the royal icing with the little beaters you use (that was before I could afford a stand-up mixer). We would decorate it with little gumdrops.

Are your kids budding chefs? My 17-year-old keeps a cookbook. It's a spiral-bound notebook and she has all of these little tabs taped to the bottom, whether it's going to be salads or soups or entrees. The other day she made spaghetti squash for her friends. Her friends are like, 'wow, this is the best thing we've ever had!'

Career advice: My career path has been being in the right place at the right time. Professionally, it's 80% attitude and really only 10% knowledge and skill (the other 10% being dumb luck).

(This was part two of our interview with Charles "Chuck" Wiley of Hotel Valley Ho. Check out part one and stay tuned for one of Wiley's recipes tomorrow... ) 

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