Bringing awareness to our awesome Phoenix restaurant scene is just one way that we strive to put our dynamic and innovative community on the map. Being part of a local community involves more than just shopping and eating local. It’s about getting to know the faces behind the food and hearing their incredible stories.
In the spirit of bringing our restaurant community into the spotlight, we’ve asked the members of our Devour Phoenix Restaurant Coalition a few questions to get to know them better and hear a bit about their inspiration.
Today’s featured member is:
Ken Jacoby / Otro Cafe, Owner & General Manager
Q: What is your favorite food memory?
That’s a hard one to answer! Some of my fondest childhood memories are of me & my grandmother baking. She was from Eastern Europe & her pastries were to die for. One of the most influential chefs in my career was Robert McGrath. I learned so much from him. I still refer back to the things he taught me 20 years ago.
Q: Which other Phoenix chefs or restaurateurs inspire you and why?
Wow, there are so many fantastic & talented chefs in this city… Where do I start? I really admire Aaron Chamberlin & the work he’s doing these days. I’m really looking forward to all the things he’s got coming down the pike. Chris Bianco is legendary; I remember meeting him for the first time in 1996 & talking about bread. His passion was infectious back then & it still is to this day. And of course my friend & partner Doug Robson. What he created at Gallo Blanco, and now at Otro, amazes me. He’s got such a refined palate & eye for detail. He’s constantly pushing me to be the best.
Q: What do you think should be the next food trend in the Phoenix food & dining scene?
Honestly, I’m done with trends. Trends come & go. I want to see widespread growth of the farm-to-table movement & more mom & pop type places all over the valley. I want to see more support of our local vendors, like Bob McClendon, Blue Sky Farms, Maya Dailey, Crow’s Dairy, Two Wash Ranch, and the like. I want Homeboy’s Hot Sauce in every restaurant in this city!
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring chef, what would it be?
Always cook with passion. It will come out in your food. Stay true to your roots, but never be afraid to try new things.