Chef News

Jared Porter of The Parlor on Cooking with Chemicals and Eating "The People's Food"

Page 3 of 3

When Fegan moved to Fiamma Trattoria in the former James Hotel, Porter followed, where he soaked up all he could from corporate chef Michael White. "The guy is a stellar, stellar chef; I found my true vision of Italian food there," Porter says.

Fiamma closed two years later, but Porter stayed on for Asia de Cuba (Fiamma's successor) burning out on hotel restaurants two years later. Who did he call when he did? Fegan, of course, who was executive chef at Olive & Ivy at the time. Fegan's chef de cuisine was leaving, and he offered Porter the position.

Somewhere around that time, another friend, Aaron Chamberlin, introduced Porter to Aric Mei, whose dad and uncles founded Nello's. Mei planned to open an upscale pizza place in a former midcentury beauty parlor on Camelback, but it took about a year to complete the extensive re-do, so Porter came on board four or five months early, helping out with the finishing work. "I knocked it out so I could get back to doing what I do," he says. "It was my sweat equity."

Now, as executive chef of The Parlor, he changes the menu seasonally, harvesting herbs and produce from the restaurant's front-door garden. A month ago, he started "Bestia Tutto" (The Whole Beast), a weekly Wednesday-through-Saturday night event featuring three menu items using various parts of a whole animal -- pig, lamb, goat, quail, fish, you name it. "I'm focused on moving this forward. Don't count us out," Porter says. "We're not just a pizza joint; that's not all we do."

Five words to describe you: Driven, hard-working, inspiring, caring, gracious and to add one: doesn't put up with BS (I know, it's a phrase, not a word).

Five words to describe The Parlor: Progressive, legitimate, comfortable, seasonal, classroom.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Nikki Buchanan