March 2016 Issue | Vol. 4, No. 6                                                                                                                             Scottsdale, Arizona





Executive Sous Chef
Lee Hillson

Executive Chef
Forest Hamrick

Executive Chef
Anthony Fullylove

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Wine Educator Gary Spadafore on Napa Valley

Letherbee Distillers
World-class Gin, Fernet, Bësk & Seasonal Gin

Certified Sommelier
Mitch Ober



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Il Terrazzo, Executive Sous Chef Lee Hillson |The Phoenician, Scottsdale, Arizona Menu changes. At an independent restaurant, they can happen daily. At restaurants that serve larger properties, they become major productions. The Phoenician’s Il Terrazzo just came out with a new spring menu, and Executive Sous Chef Lee Hillson shared some of the background behind the procedure. “Here,” Hillson said, “it’s quite a process. It takes a couple months to get a new menu in place. We have to do tastings and we have to do a cost-analysis, sales mix. All the fun stuff behind it.” The “fun stuff” includes determining what items sell, what they cost, and the final profit. Basically, a culinary flowchart. When technology crunches the monetary details so finely, is there any room for true creativity and invocations of comfort that chefs want guests to equate with their meal? “When it’s evoked by food,” Hillson said about memories, “and you’re thinking about it, it’s usually from when you were a child and when you’re out with friends and family, and it’s usually over a very, very simple meal.” In other words, regardless of what software gets utilized in the kitchen, food still invokes memories. At Il Terrazzo, the memories start in the kitchen. Hillson just happens to like taking the old, often simple, styles of food and modernizing them. Example: Australian Lamb Rack with Crushed Fingerlings, Maitake Mushrooms, Snap Peas, Minted Pea Purée. “My mom actually used to do a roasted leg of lamb,” Hillson gave the background. “She’d always do boiled potatoes. She’d boil them with mint stalks and then she’d make mashed peas. So this kind of plays off of that, what she used to do.” Beyond the bean counting, the number-crunching process points the kitchen in the right direction regarding what the guests really like. Hillson used the Bronzino Seabass as an example. “It’s pan-seared,” Hillson described the dish. “It’s whole. There’s only one piece of bone, and that’s by the tail. That’s on red and white quinoa, and then we have a red harissa underneath that and a little cilantro yogurt and fresh cilantro. And then we have squash going through the quinoa. So it’s actually a very, very healthy dish. Very clean, very light. Ready for spring and summer.”