By Gabby Leighton / Photo by Mark Morgan
Franklin Thompson Jr. is the new executive chef of Artizen Crafted American Kitchen & Bar at The Camby – the same building where his culinary career began more than 20 years ago.
What brought you to The Camby? I worked in this very building from 1990-1996 when it was the Ritz-Carlton. It was my first hotel cooking job of my career as a pantry line cook.
When did you know you wanted to be a chef? I knew it after starting with the Ritz-Carlton and learning all the different techniques, various ingredients, working with a lot of personalities in the food and beverage environment, which was always changing. In other words it was, and still is, never boring.
To you, food is… Like music. It should stimulate your senses while capturing a special moment in time that creates a memorable experience.
When you’re not cooking, where would we find you? Probably listening to some good jazz, relaxing with my wife and family, enjoying a good hike with my dog, or at a sporting event.
What is your guilty pleasure? Good New York-style pizza or Asian cuisine.
Favorite food memory: Preparing a charity wine dinner with chef Roy Yamaguchi and chef Lidia Bastianich in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Do you have a favorite thing to cook? Almost anything that involves seafood
What is your approach in the kitchen? My approach is to be involved with my team. I like to be in the trenches with them so that they know that I am there for support, and also so that I can see the product that goes out to the guests first hand which can be corrected or adjusted on the spot.
How did Southwestern-meets-Latin cuisine become your specialty? It is the basis of what my career started on as a young culinarian. As I was starting my career here in Phoenix I was fortunate to work with some great chefs that took me under their wing, trained me and I just took to it. I love the flavor profile that comes with this cuisine and its many layers of taste that hit all the taste pleasure points
2401 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix; 602.522.6634; www.artizenaz.com.