Return to my Roots
I moved to San Francisco when I was 19. I’d wanted to live in a big city, next to all of the gastronomy both in the food and the culture. That’s when the lightbulb clicked on for me, and so I made San Francisco my home for the following 12 years. My family is from that area and it ended up being where I’d gain most of my education in restaurant work; it’s where I got my chops as a chef and where I learned about the seasonality of ingredients, cooking, and eating. It helped that, because the countryside was so close by to the city, I could spend a good amount of time exploring and relaxing up in Napa Valley and Sonoma County.
I came back to Phoenix because I saw opportunity and I knew I’d have a chance to achieve my goals of opening a restaurant and starting a family. I drove across the whole valley, from Ahwatukee to Fountain Hills, and from Glendale to Gilbert, and saw how many underserved neighborhoods there were. I started making plans for St. Francis, which, in 2009, I’d choose to open in the heart of Central Phoenix.