Chef News

Dean Delgado of Ncounter, Part Two

Yesterday we brought you the first half of our chat with Chef Dean (Deano) Delgado of the new Tempe breakfast spot Ncounter. Today we'll chat with Deano and owners Kathy Coker and Tysen Manuel about why they chose to move to Mill and their vision for the future.

You've done breakfast for a while now, but if Thom came to you tomorrow saying you could start another project with any kind of food, what would you say?

It would be breakfast. It's fast and it's a meal you can eat anytime. You can wake up at 10 a.m. and say, "I'm going to throw on some French toast." People, especially my family, they'll throw down some over-easy eggs with hash browns at 6:30 after church, or you know, whenever. So breakfast is an anytime meal. I enjoy cooking breakfast because you can get creative with it. It's fast its easy to prep for, it's food-cost efficient and everyone loves breakfast, so you get a broad spectrum of people who really enjoy the meal.

What's your favorite breakfast food?

Oh man, I'd have to say my favorite item on the Ncounter menu would have to be the Loaded which is a specialty omelet we do that has everything in it...ham and sausage, bacon, veggies, and jack and cheddar cheese. Then I also like the Bene, which is really good. Today I had the Farmers Market Bene that has avocado, spinach, tomato and hollandaise.

How do you feel about chicken and waffles for breakfast?

Chicken and waffles...No. I mean, I'm sure to some people it's awesome but to me, it doesn't sound so appetizing. That's really heavy. I'm not a waffle person myself, although I did try to get waffles on the T.C. Egginton's menu. We just didn't have room for the irons.

Why do you close at 3:05?

Kathy: We did a lot of research in California because this kind of project is very popular over there. We were in Venice Beach and we saw a place and their hours were 9:05. And it just caught our attention and created a huge conversation and we started laughing. It's drawn a lot of attention; it's been a conversation piece so it just stuck. Plus my daughter said, "You know, Mom, you're always 5 minutes late, so that's what time we need to make it." And this way, there's nothing worse than showing up at a restaurant at 3:00 and they say, "Sorry." So we give you that extra five minutes so you can just get in and still eat.

Did you think about doing something more closely tied to the T.C. Eggington name?

Tysen: We thought a lot about that and I know that's really important especially in terms of marketing, you know like Sam Fox. He kinda has got all these different concepts but they kinda just bleed into each other. But T.C.'s is very country. To put a T.C. Eggingtons here on Mill Avenue with the urban, fast-paced business people -- it would work, but it's more of a destination, take your time, go there after church, hang out...It wouldn't fit the vibe.

What do you hope to see in the future of Ncounter?

Dean: Our goal is on the weekends not to only have the families but a lot of kids too, and out-of-staters. With the events coming through we're talking about doing a separate menu just so we can cater to the faster paced crowd -- like marathoners. You know, people that want to get in and out with a juice and a burrito or fruit and yogurt. They can just go in and we'll have a selection of #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 and they'll order it and get a SmartWater, juice, or espresso or coffee. For the festivals and races we'll have water and coffee outside...maybe a juice. Now this is just hypothetical, it's still in the making but I'm talking to upper management. You know, if you want to cater to that many people and have quality food, we're going to have to just go with something quick.

Tomorrow we'll bring you Dean's recipe for bananas foster sauce.

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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria