Weirdest thing you ever ate: I grew up here and ate rattlesnake when I was a kid. Not sure how uncommon it is nowadays.
Best food memory: Here's the gushy one. My wedding dinner. Amazing night, best wedding food ever.
Two culinary mentors and what you learned from them: First, Vincent Guerithault. He's a Phoenix icon. I have the utmost respect for him and what he's done for the Valley. I worked in his kitchen at 19 while in culinary school, and he gave me the real-deal perspective a kid at my age needed to see to really set things in motion. Second, Michael White at Fiamma. He taught me the love and purity of the Italian food I do today. He also showed me that you don't have to be a tyrant in the kitchen to get people to follow you into battle. He's a great-hearted dude.
Your most embarrassing moment in the kitchen: When I broke a stack of, like, 20 plates working the hot app station at Vincent's. It wasn't so much embarrassing as painful because he laid into me the entire night. He never let me forget how much his plates cost, but he wasn't going out of his way to be mean. There was tangible information in there. With him, there was always a point.
In which kitchen have you had the most fun?: Tough one. I feel like I learned the most at Michael's [at the Citadel]. I worked with a crazy lineup of chefs -- Matt Carter, Patrick Fegan, Jay Bogsinske, Adam Schop, Michael Swenton, Matt Ochs and, of course, Michael DeMaria himself. All have gone on to greatness. But I feel I'm paying it forward in the kitchen here at The Parlor.