FOODIES WEST.COM         
  CHEF DE CUISINE BRANDON DILLON
     You know, the thing about the kitchen is
September 2015 Issue / Vol. 3, No. 16                                                    it’s really just having common sense.











 

 









      
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Brandon Dillon shares how the crew in Agustín Kitchen beats the Lower Sonoran Desert Heat—

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Chef de Cuisine Brandon Dillon, Agustín Kitchen, Tucson, Arizona
President Harry Truman famously said, If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Brandon Dillon can concur. He’s not only managed to effectively deal with Tucson, Arizona’s Lower Sonoran Desert heat while cooking in the middle of summer, but experienced a devastating kitchen fire. Now, as part of Tucson’s culinary dynamic duo with Chef Ryan Clark, he’s in the midst of a red-hot, non-stop culinary career. Together, the two have won several consecutive Tucson Iron Chef titles, they’ve made Clark’s restaurant, Agustín Kitchen, a local favorite, and they recently won an international award. This culinary dynamic started during a time when great feats are often formulated: While daydreaming. “I was around 15 or 16 years old,” Dillon began. “Ryan and I were friends in high school and always talked about getting a job. We thought cooking would be one of them.” Dillon’s uncle on his mom’s side used to own a restaurant in Chicago. Just a small restaurant, he said. He was always hanging around it. So he figures cooking is in his blood. “We were cooking at home,” Dillon continued. “Our moms were great cooks. We decided to get our first job together at one of the restaurants here in town, (former) City Grill.” They decided to do this because they were cooking at home, right? “Sometimes,” Dillon said. “We let the moms cook. We would play with a couple of recipes, and just went from there. We both started young. He got on the line, and I was a prep cook. We always had a good time cooking together.” After City Grill, Clark got a job at Fuego, one of Tucson’s awe-factor restaurants, and Dillon went to Hidden Valley Inn, a steakhouse akin to Tucson’s Old West styled Pinnacle Peak. “We could serve up to 400 people at once,” Dillon said. “It was a really great experience. I moved up in the kitchen. I became a sous chef when I was 18 or 19 years old.” This became a habit for both friends, filling positions of responsibility at a young age. “Yes we started young,” Dillon said, “and then we just kept going. You know, the thing about the kitchen is it’s really just having common sense. Just thinking about what flavors work together, and you’re just having fun with it. If you just see it as a job, it’s not going to work. It was great for us. We were two passionate young cats, and that was it.