By Alison Bailin Batz
Photo by Mark Morgan
In April 2019, Alex Robinson was named executive chef of T. Cook’s at Royal Palms Resort and Spa, bringing with him an exciting take on Mediterranean cuisine that combines his California sensibility with French techniques.
At just 33, you already have quite the resume!
I’ve been lucky enough to work in some of the country’s best five-star resort kitchens, including The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, The Ritz-Carlton Chicago; Four Season Resort Jackson Hole, Four Seasons Hotel Denver, Four Seasons Hotel Boston and Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North.
What inspired you to get into the kitchen in the first place?
My dad, a jack of all trades and master of none, loved playing around in kitchen and making things from scratch. He certainly inspired me. So much so, at 14 I started working as a dishwasher in a mom and pop restaurant. By 17, I was running it. After high school, I attended Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale, graduating in 2005, and it was off to the races after that.
What is your vision for T. Cook’s moving forward?
I want to push the boundaries and create inspired dishes where every element on the plate, even the garnish, is interesting, compelling and exceptional. T. Cook’s was always meant to be a neighborhood restaurant, not just for special occasions, and with every visit, I want to compel guests to come back and explore even more of the menu.
What are some of your favorite ingredients to cook with in the summer?
Being from Southern California, I love Hass avocados all year long, but especially in the summer, as well as Harry’s Berries, which I brought to the resort from California as well. I’m also really excited to work with fresh seafood, fiddlehead ferns and stone fruit all summer long.
What is something readers would be surprised to know about you?
My jack of all trades dad was also a drummer – he almost played for the Beach Boys, in fact – so he had me drumming by age 2. I still play the drums, as well as the guitar. Oh, I was also a skateboarder, with sponsors and all, when I was in my teens.
T. Cooks, 5200 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix; 602.808.0766; www.royalpalmshotel.com.