Pavle Milic, general manager at Scottsdale's groovy Digestif, was a man with a plan.
But in the words of John Lennon, "Life is what happens while you're busy making plans."
So although Milic had gotten the ball rolling on opening his own gourmet panini restaurant (inspired by Ino, in New York City), the economic climate put a damper on it. Meanwhile, another opportunity arose completely out of the blue: an offer to become the GM at Prado, the Spanish restaurant at the new Intercontinental Montelucia resort.
Milic, a restaurant industry vet who's worked everywhere from Rancho Pinot to the Royal Palms, was approached by Prado chef Claudio Urciuoli a few weeks ago; he just signed a contract this afternoon, but plans to continue working at Digestif for at least three more weeks.
"The way the local community has embraced the restaurant has been amazing, and I kind of feel like I'm leaving my spawn," Milic says of Digestif. When he finally had to talk to his boss and mentor, owner Peter Kasperski, Milic says he made himself sick. "He has given me a wonderful opportunity here."
Clearly Milic doesn't yet have one foot out the door. Today, he's been busy accomodating a film crew that is doing a behind-the-scenes reality TV show called Back of the House, which is for the Fine Living network, but may air on Bravo or the Food Network. They're shadowing chef Payton Curry all weekend.
Today, Curry butchered a 250-pound pig on camera, and he's creating several pork dishes for 20 or 30 Harley Davidson riders (get it? Hogs?) who will be roaring into the SouthBridge vicinity tonight. Tomorrow, they'll join him at the Scottsdale farmer's market, and will visit McClendon Farms with him as well.
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Without a doubt, Milic's gracious presence at Digestif will be sorely missed . . .
I'll keep you posted on when Curry is supposed to make his television debut.