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Chef Elizabeth Meinz of Orange Table, Part 2

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This week we're chatting with Elizabeth Meinz, executive chef and general manager at Orange Table in Old Town Scottsdale. We got the scoop on where the ham and American cheese went Monday, and today we're talking business and community with the busy mother of two.

What new projects have you done or do you have in mind?

We became members of Local First, which we're very proud of and I'm going to do a chef series class in January with them. We close at four so this entire space is available to do private events and I'm currently thinking about and working very hard on some pairings. Not necessarily wine, maybe beer, bourbon, tequila with breakfast for dinner menu with spirits.

More from Elizabeth after the jump...

In the past this place has been known for it's slow service, is that something you think will continue?

I think it became their thing before I was here; it was just so notorious. Since we've been here, just in those six months, [the word's been that] the service has finally caught up with the food. I've tweaked some things in the kitchen just for efficiency's sake. I think we have quite a bit more staff than there has been. I mean, if the food's good and you're making money that all you have to do to stay in business. But service is important to me--it's probably the most important thing to me. So that wasn't acceptable, to just go with the thing of having slow service.

How has it been for you breaking into the scene here in Scottsdale?

I wasn't feeling very connected and that's because in Milwaukee where I'm from it's a totally different sense of community. I find if you want to go anywhere [here] you have to drive--in Milwaukee I never drove anywhere. So in that regard...I don't know, I wasn't loving it. Had I not gotten this whole thing I don't know that I would have stayed in Scottsdale to tell you the truth. Since being here I've increased my relationship with Scottsdale and I like it. The tighter it becomes the nicer it becomes. I can actually pick up the phone and get something done because I know who to call.

I know you said yesterday you wanted this position but do you have any regrets?

It's a lot of work. You think you're only open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. but its never just 7 to 4. And seven days a week is hard. I have two little kids so I try to be around to take them to school in the morning and I have my staff dialed in. I get here at 9 and try to leave by 6 but I'm constantly working at home. Since I don't have an office it's hard to get things done because I'm constantly being interrupted, which is fine--seriously. I like being involved but it makes it hard to get all the...bull shit, done.

Is this where you saw yourself fulfilling that goal you set?

From a culinary point of view, no. The answer is clearly no. There's only so much you can do with toast and egg. It's not where I thought I would be in a culinary sense when I went to school; and I'd done every thing...I worked at Digestif for a year and a half and that was big in charcuterie and butchery and some really cool out there stuff. I also cooked at Heirloom, Michael DeMaria's restauraunt, for just over a year and we did some very nice food there. So I've sort of done it all. I'm not cooking as much here as I have in the past because I'm running the joint, but I've very proud of the food.

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