By Gabby Richman
Photo by Mark Morgan
When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
When I was 19 years old. I was tired of the small city living in New Mexico but I didn’t want to go attend a university. I saw an infomercial around 3 a.m. featuring Scottsdale Culinary Institute. I’m really happy it put me on the road to working in this industry and has allowed me to meet such great people.
To you, food is…
A way to connect with people. It’s a universal way to enjoy each other’s company and something to put in front of your loved ones to make them happy. It’s also an expression of myself, the places I’ve been and things I’ve been through in my life.
The one ingredient you probably use most is…
If you weren’t a chef, you’d probably be…
Working with animals in some way, in a setting where they’re healthy and happy. Maybe a tiger whisperer!
When you’re not cooking, where would we find you?
At home. I like to garden, and I have some pretty great dogs and they mean the world to me. Spending time with my girlfriend as well – She’s the best.
What food is your guilty pleasure?
Totino’s Party Pizzas. They got me through culinary school at a dollar a piece.
Favorite food memory:
Walking with my older sister Amy to our favorite restaurant in my hometown of Alamogordo, New Mexico. It’s called Si Senor. We went every single day one summer while my pops was fighting forest fires in Alaska. Their hatch green chile enchiladas (as hot as they can make them) are my favorite Mexican food.
What is one cooking tip you can share?
Stick to the basics for seasoning. Try not to go overboard. Use salt and balance with your acidity.
Let’s talk about the Casa Añejo menu:
The menu is full of classic [Mexican] dishes. We put a slight spin on a few things, but I wanted to be as traditional as possible on some.
Casa Añejo, 5602 N. 7th St., Phoenix; 480.588.2908; www.casaanejo.com.