Chef News

Ehren Litzenberger of BLD in Chandler on Mario Batali and Why It's Hard to Be a Three-Squares Chef

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National/international chef you greatly admire and why: Mario Batali. Super-clean food, simple and approachable.

What's your guilty pleasure?: Ice cream. Blue Bell pecan pralines. When I am down and out, I could eat the whole gallon.

What's the hardest part about cooking three meals a day?: The hours. The fact that I have to cook eggs 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. while feeding Chandler seven days a week. We offer this city 21 times a week to dine with us. It's extremely difficult.

BLD is a neighborhood restaurant. How do you take your Chandler neighborhood into account when planning the menu?: I have gotten to know Chandler better than ever. Chandler loves simple and easy-to-understand food with a "wow" factor. I have developed a very well-rounded menu that is appealing to most, from vegan/vegetarian to healthy/protein to the "I want gravy on everything."

Is it harder or easier to be creative, given your three-squares-a-day format?: It tends to be more difficult, as I have to come up with three times as many specials and change my ways of creating to be approachable here in Chandler. Chandler does not see BLD as "nice" food; they view us as awesome food. More and more think of us as a diner, so getting them here for dinner is tough sometimes. We can only do so much with eggs, but we nailed it. Asking this neighborhood to come see us three times a day just doesn't work. We have guests that love breakfast and lunch and have never tried dinner. Goes the same way for our dinner guests.

What would you put on the menu if you thought people would eat it?: Whole fish. Most people don't like the fact that the head is still on. But what I can do with a whole fish would surprise Chandler.

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Nikki Buchanan