This is part two of my interview with Michael O'Dowd, executive chef and co-owner of Renegade by MOD in Scottsdale. If you missed part one, where O'Dowd dished about what he's up to at Renegade and how he feels about comfort food, read it here.
Five words to describe you: Passionate, energetic, visionary, driven, alive.
Five words to describe Renegade by MOD: Vibrant, unique, friendly, artistic, fresh.
Favorite food smell: Fresh bread.
Favorite cookbook: White Heat - Marco Pierre White -- It was raw for me back in the day and ignited my climb.
The one ingredient/dish you never get sick of eating: Chinese sausage.
Ingredient/dish you're completely over: White truffle oil.
IIngredient you love to cook with: I love ginger and the diversity it brings. You can throw it in anything and it'll blow up.
Do you believe in farm-to-table or is it a buzzword?: I am a believer but have seen many who abuse its purpose and mission.
Now that expensive restaurants with esoteric ingredients are few and far between, what's the new version of fancy?: Doing re-imagined food with torque and pairing it with high-end ingredients.
Your favorite cuisine and why: I'm a lover of all cuisines and really try to focus on how that food got to taste that way through years of tradition and/or how a New Age approach re-defines it.
Best food memory: Bruno's for bread and cheese as a kid.
Favorite place to dine in Phoenix: Lee's Sandwiches -- fast, good flavors, and cheap.
Local chef you admire: I like all chefs who take risks.
National/international chef you admire and why: Masaharu Morimoto -- I like his speed, creativity, innovation, and his ability to go all out.
Favorite thing to eat growing up: Cheese.
Favorite thing to eat now: Handmade pizza with my kids.
What's your guilty pleasure?: Foie gras.
Pet peeve when you're the restaurant customer: Slow service and servers who are joking around and not paying attention to my table.
The best thing about being a chef is: The freedom to create and to run a team to the Promised Land while burning memories.
The worst thing about being a chef is: Time away from loved ones.
What would you be if you weren't a chef?: A producer or film director.
Name a culinary mentor and explain what you learned from that person: John Coletta -- kicked my ass and taught me to hit it hard and to never give up even if some may not dig my style.
Last meal on Earth -- what would it be?: Foie and sweetbreads on a crusty baguette.
What should be written on your headstone?: Go big or go here.
Enjoy this Chef Salad? Check out Nikki's previous interviews with: Helen Yung of Sweet Republic Helen Yung of Sweet Republic Jacques Qualin of J&G Steakhouse Claudio Urciuoli of Noca 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 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. Lo-Lo's Fried Chicken & Waffles Chris Bianco, Pizzeria Bianco, Bar Bianco, Pane Bianco and Trattoria Bianco Ehren Litzenberger, BLD Matt Taylor, Market Street Kitchen Kelly Fletcher, House of Tricks?> Kelly Fletcher, House of Tricks?>
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