Cory Oppold’s creativity and skill has earned him a victory on Food Network’s Chopped, and his local credentials include executive chef at Tarbell’s, sous chef at Binkley’s, and chef de cuisine at L’auberge. He's currently executive chef at Atlas Bistro, in Scottsdale.
Even under non-pandemic situations, Atlas Bistro closes during the summers, and Oppold in the past has offered an in-home dining service during the hot months for those who can't get enough of his cooking. When COVID-19 took hold and restaurants began to close en masse, he expanded his service to include pickup and home delivery. He gave the operation a name inspired by the sous vide preparation technique he uses for these meals: Simmer Down.
Simmer Down offers three styles of at-home options: family meals (fully prepared, quick, inexpensive meal kits designed to feed four to six people), a la carte gourmet meal kits (tasty items include a lemon bar with cherry jam and a Chula Seafood grouper), and a fully catered, five-course "In-Home Dining Experience" where Oppold will come cook and serve you and your party (up to 12 people).
The Simmer Down website has heating and cooking instructions along with ideas for plating, consistent with the food-as-art philosophy those who've dined at Atlas Bistro will be familiar with.
“Just because it comes in a plastic container doesn’t mean it’s supposed to stay there,” Oppold says.
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Orders can be placed via the Simmer Down website. For the family meal and a la carte options, you can either pick up at Atlas Bistro or have it delivered with a $5 fee. For in-home dining, choose from the online menu or contact the chef for a customized dining experience. The a la carte menu and family meal menus are set, but in-home dining options will change seasonally.
Post pandemic, Oppold’s ultimate goal is to open his own intimate restaurant, where he'll have two seatings of 12 people and serve a 12-course meal. Until then, he remains busy with Atlas and Simmer Down.
In fact, at the time of this interview, Oppold had just returned from doing a 40-person, in-home wine dinner in Napa for a physicians' conference. They've already asked him back.