An allergy to olive oil...Come on, really? What pushes my buttons? Special instructions, allergies. It sounds crass. You don't know if it's BS or not. Just say you don't like it - be honest. Someone said they were allergic to olive oil and garlic. I was like, 'You walked into the opposite of where you should be.' This is an Italian restaurant. We have olive oil and garlic in everything.
Apathy intolerant: I think apathy really pushes my buttons. This business and people in general demand so much from a service industry especially in a restaurant. You have to be able to power through sickness; you have to be able to power through things that are going on at home. A lot of times people can't handle that. Back in the day I was probably a little more hot-headed than I am now. I've learned how to deal with people in general and not allow things to really get me going. I've found that it raises my blood pressure and creates a bad vibe regardless.
Porter shares some of the concepts he'd like to pursue in the future after the jump.
Old school is new school: There are a couple old school guys I admire. One of them is Marco Pierre White. He's really famous for being the first English chef to win three Michelin stars, the youngest chef to win three Michelin stars and the first to ever give them back when he retired. He's not so much just food; he's more philosophy of food, philosophy of people, philosophy about life in general, why you do things and how you do things, a very introspective kind of person. He's very prophetic. Another one I'm a huge fan of is Fergus Henderson. He's another English chef that totally coined the whole nose-to-tail cooking - he's the one who made it chic. He's got a great reputation as being an amazing chef. He actually has very severe Parkinson's - it came on very strong later in his career, so he actually can't cook anymore, but he still runs his kitchen. He's still definitely a trendsetter. There are a lot of people who inspire me that do a lot of farm to table stuff like Dan Barber in New York.
Amore for Mario Batali: A lot of this is pre-Food Network. That being said, he's a culinary icon. He's got the Midas touch when it comes to opening restaurants.
Tough guy turned pansy: I've know my sous chef for a long time, but what he might say behind my back is that I'm a little bit of a pansy professionally. I think he would say sometimes I can be a little bit of a push-over. He knew me back when I was kind of a tough guy and how I've kind of softened over time over would have him say I'm a little bit of a push-over.
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Thou shalt not sell out: I would like to think that eventually I will have made a defining mark in the city. I really try to stay humble instead of really putting myself out there, instead of becoming the next celebrity chef in Phoenix. I try to let my food speak for itself. I'm not going to be that guy whose food is mediocre and is in every publication and on TV all the time. I'd like to think I could have at least a couple restaurants under my belt in the next 15 years.
What's next: My next thing would probably be my own Italian restaurant, not necessarily pizza driven, something along the lines of a trattoria, Italian bistro like, simple, approachable, quick, seasonal, authentic. I don't think people really understand what authentic Italian food is supposed to be. It's going to take a little longer for the public to understand. I would love to do a really great American regional restaurant where you could showcase different parts of the country for what they're worth - let people see some different stuff. I think the base is a simple rustic-ness to it. I've done the high end - I've worked in really high-end cuisine and I don't eat like that. I go out and eat like that once in a while. I want a place where I can go and feel like I could eat like, 'I could eat like this all the time.'
Never thought you'd eat an octopus salad somewhere other than a sushi bar? Tomorrow Porter will show us how to make this at home. Go back and read Part One of this interview.