Chef News

Matt Carter of The Mission and Zinc Bistro

hef Matt Carter, a trip across Scottsdale means a journey from France to Spain -- and back again. Now, that's a worldly guy. The Mission  in Old Town Scottsdale offers margaritas and twinkly lights alongside the Spanish cuisine, while Kierland Commons' Zinc Bistro is tres Francais from soup to nuts. Chef at both, Carter moves from one to the other easily -- and often. We caught him at The Mission on his way from Zinc, and grabbed him for a chat. Here's what he had to say:

What was your favorite restaurant to cook in?
Christopher's: I loved the kitchen design and the dynamic of running two dining rooms out of opposite ends of the same kitchen. The level of product and cuisine was at the top of the game here in Phoenix, or anywhere for that matter.

Is there anything that you believe you can cook better than anyone else?
Better is so relative. Better faster? Better cleaner? Better tasting? Better Looking? There are too many variables. I would have to say no to all and yes to all depending who that anyone is.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
Anything that puts me outside over a wood fire or pasta if that is not an option

Who are some of your favorite people in the industry?
Christopher Gross, Michael DeMaria, Jay Bogsinske, James Porter, Tammie and Mj Coe, Beau Macmillan, Adam Schop, Jeremy Macmillan

Find out what makes The Mission different from other Latin restaurants after the jump.

What do you think sets The Mission apart from other restaurants like it in the Valley?
I don't know if there is anything like it in the Valley. It's unique in the fact that we can go Latin globally, basically taking products and traditional recipes from any region colonized by Spain and doing my versions of those dishes and combining those ingredients, letting my chefs and I experiment and play a lot, which makes us happy and excited and I think it reflects to our customers.

What is the most disgusting thing you have ever had to prepare?
I don't use that word in reference to food that I'm cooking or serving. If a customer ever did I would be highly insulted.

What was your most inspirational experience with food?
A James Beard dinner at Christopher's in I think 1993 or '94 with Charlie Trotter, Drew Nieporent, Joachim Splichal, Robin Haas and Chuck Wiley. I had been cooking for four years, and that night broke my cherry and made it all real for me - I got it.

What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to cooking?
People who complain about their job and don't take responsibility for their job.There is no illusion to the fact that we are here to serve our customers. If you think it's about something else, get out. If you think it's too hard and it's always somebody else's fault, then you are in the wrong business. There are no problems, only solutions - move on.

Stay tuned for part two tomorrow for Carter's greatest indulgence and a most deplorable restaurant experience.

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.
Keyon Fareghi
Contact: Keyon Fareghi