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April 2014 Issue / Vol. 2, No. 7                                                                                                                                               I just like to cook.

Iron Chef Lee Hillson

Artist Patsy Lowry
Talks Table Art
Chef's Larder

Pastry Chef
Jill McCormick

Coming in May:
Savannah & the Iron Chef

Chef Ryan Clark:
Modern Southwest Cooking Book Review

Sacred Spirits

The herb of merriment

KAI Restaurant Revue

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Synopsis: Foodies West interview with owner/chef Michael Rusconi, Rusconi’s American Kitchen, Scottsdale, AZ

When California-born Chef Michael Rusconi was “7 or 8,” his family moved to Arlington Heights, a northwest suburb of Chicago. He spent his childhood summers in the San Joachim Valley with his grandparents on his father’s side. During that time, he got his fill of food. “My grandfather was Swiss and my grandmother Portuguese. So we had a huge breakfast. And polenta showed up a lot. Polenta and stew. Polenta and fish. Quail with polenta. He got a job prepping fish for Bob Chin’s Crabhouse Restaurant in Wheeling, Illinois. The top grossing privately owned restaurants in the nation had him cutting 500 pounds of fish a couple times a week.“That’s where I learned about fish. He used to buy direct from fisherman. From fisherman in Alaska, Florida, and West Coast. Dungeness crab, lobster, live king crab, grouper.” Shortly after he got out of high school, Rusconi decided to go to culinary school. He said there weren’t many schools “back then,” and he decided to go to the New England Culinary Institute. The school had fewer students, and he figured he’d learn more with its low student-to-teacher ratioHe started out at Vincent’s, then Mary Elaine’s. He said he had many opportunities to move around, but he stayed at the Phoenician for eight years and learned a tremendous amount. Next he joined boutique properties. First, T. Cook’s at the Royal Palms. Next LON’S at the Hermosa Inn.