Chef News

Gio Osso of Virtu on the Ungers, Beau Mac and the Unnecessary Hype Around Farm-to-Table

This is part two of my interview with Gio Osso, chef-owner of Virtù Honest Craft in Scottsdale. If you missed part one, where Osso dished about his favorite local restaurants and whether or not he should be considered an Italian chef, read it here.

See also: -- Juice Core Opens Fresh Juice Shop in Old Town Scottsdale

Five words to describe you: Funny, passionate, loyal, determined, loving.

Five words to describe Virtu: Quaint, cozy, comfortable, unpretentious, awesome.

Ingredient you love to cook with and why: Honey! It balances everything!

Ingredient or dish you don't care if you ever see again: Haven't come across anything I wouldn't want to try or use again except maybe bugs! Why do people eat bugs? Gross!

What's your guilty pleasure?: CHOCOLATE!!! 'Nuff said!

Most important thing you learned while working at Sugo: Be careful how you structure a deal with partners. Not all partners are created equal!

Best thing about working at Estate House: Fred and Jennifer Unger are two of the nicest, most down to earth people I know. They truly made me feel like family and still to this day I know their doors are always open for me to talk with them. Love them!

Best food memory: Lemon leaf grilled buffalo mozzarella in Capri! Heaven? Yes!

Favorite thing to eat growing up: Refer to question #8. CHOCOLATE! Yes in caps!

Favorite thing to eat now: I've been trying different types of prosciutto, Serrano, all kinds of cured pig. I want to find the perfect combination of characteristics that I want my ham to taste like.

Chef from whom you've learned the most: My true mentor, Richard Lowack. He is now back in New Jersey but as a chef he has taught me the most!

Chef you'd like to meet and why: Lidia Bastianich. She reminds me of my mom.

Name the famous chef -- local, national or international -- with whom you feel the most kinship. Beau Mac is the man! His only flaw is his love for the Red Sox! Yankees, Baby!

Most exciting thing you've eaten or restaurant you've visited in the past year: I was in Vegas a few months ago and did a little dine around. I had so many awesome dishes I don't know where to begin.

Virtù is yours. What will you do differently here from all the other places you've ever worked?: I won't let anyone interfere with my vision. It will be what I want, how I want, and when I want.

Your take on local, seasonal and Farm-to-Table: Overstated. Everyone uses the statement, farm to table, farm to fork, blah, blah blah! We're all trying to do that when we can. If we have the accessibility to use local, fresh items, of course that's what we do! No one is going to say, "Hey, I'm using two week old veggies from South America!"

You're about to get married. Is your fiancée prepared for the hours you're going to be putting in at Virtù? And how will you achieve a balance between work life and home life?: I haven't told her yet! Kidding! She's all for it! Considering we're closed on Sunday and Monday for the summer, I'll have time with her. I get up with her in the morning for coffee at 5 a.m. so I make it a point to see and talk with her every chance I get. She'll be around the restaurant a lot too.

Last meal on earth, what would it be?: My mom's lasagna! Bet you thought I was going to say chocolate!

Enjoy this Chef Salad? Check out Nikki's previous interviews with: Vincent Guerithault of Vincent on Camelback, Vincent's Market Bistroc Helen Yung of Sweet Republic Jacques Qualin of J&G Steakhouse Claudio Urciuoli of Noca Matt Pool of Matt's Big Breakfast Jared Porter of The Parlor Charleen Badman of FnB Tony Abou-Ganim & Adam Seger Charlotte Voisey of Best American Brands Ambassador Steve Olson of Valley Ho Dough Robson of Gallo Blanco Edward Farrow of The Cafe at MIM Greg LaPrad of Quiessence & Morning Glory Cafe Joshua Johnson of Kai Todd Sicolo of T.Cooks Josh Riesner of Pig & Pickle Lester Gonzalez of Cowboy Ciao M.J. Coe of Federal Pizza Steven "Chops" Smith of Searsucker Aaron Chamberlin of St. Francis Michael Rusconi of Rusconi's American Kitchen Chrysa Robertson of Rancho Pinot Lynn Rossetto of The Splendid Table Cullen Campbell of Crudo DJ Monti Carlo Pete DeRuvo of Davanti Enoteca Chuck Wiley of Cafe ZuZu Justin Beckett of Beckett's Table Bryan Dooley of Bryan's Black Mountain Barbecue Silvana Salcido Esparza of Barrio Cafe Jeff Kraus of Crepe Bar Bernie Kantak of Citizen Public House James Porter of Petite Maison Johnny Chu of SoChu House Neo Asian + Martini Bar Stephen Jones of Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails Chris Gross of Christopher's Restaurant and Crush Lounge Chris Curtiss of NoRTH Arcadia Payton Curry of Brat Haus Mark Tarbell of Tarbell's Josh Hebert of Posh Kevin Binkley of Binkley's Restaurant Lori Hashimoto of Hana Japanese Eatery Larry White Jr. of Lo-Lo's Fried Chicken & Waffles Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco, Bar Bianco, Pane Bianco and Trattoria Bianco Ehren Litzenberger of BLD Matt Taylor of Market Street Kitchen Kelly Fletcher of House of Tricks Jeremy Pacheco of Lon's Michael O'Dowd of Renegade by MOD

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Nikki Buchanan