Steven "Chops" Smith Leaves Searsucker Scottsdale

After not quite a year at Top Chef Brian Malarkey's Searsucker in Scottsdale, Steven "Chops" Smith has left as its executive chef.

Smith -- whose résumé also includes gigs at Kelly's at SouthBridge (consulting), Different Pointe of View, Noca, St. Francis, Olive & Ivy, and the defunct Furio and Luc's -- opened the 9,500-square-foot Searsucker in October last year as well as assisted Malarkey and his team in New York City in May, when they made a meal for the James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner.

So who's replacing "Chops?"

See also: Steven "Chops" Smith Dishes on the Weirdest Thing He Ever Ate (It Smells Bad) and Why He Loves Japanese Cuisine

Smith's replacement is Aarti Sanghavi, executive sous chef at Searsucker in San Diego. A graduate of Temple University with a bachelor's degree in Hospitality and Restaurant Management, Sanghavi attended the Johnson and Wales Culinary School in Miami and has worked at Latitude 41 in Columbus, Ohio, as well as the Arterra Restaurant at the San Diego Marriott Del Mar Hotel. As Chef de Cuisine of Searsucker Scottsdale, Sanghavi will continue to carry out Malarkey's vision.

As to Smith's next step, a source tells me he's going to open his own restaurant. Stay tuned for details.

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