Quiessence chef leaves menu up to nature - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Communitylife

Quiessence chef leaves menu up to nature

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Posted: Friday, January 8, 2010 12:00 am

Quiessence Chef Greg LaPrad really takes the “farm to fork” concept seriously, and he’s gaining national attention for it.

In November, LaPrad was the only Arizona chef featured in the national eco-list of “40 Chefs Under 40” by the Mother Nature Network, which he said he attributes mostly to his ability to work next to an actual farm.

A graduate of Johnson and Wales University in 2002, the Connecticut native has also worked in kitchens in Rhode Island, New York, Alaska and Arizona.

LaPrad said the unique concept of Quiessence really sets itself apart from any nearby competition. He works nearly exclusively with local vendors every day, such as McClendon’s Select Farms in Peoria. His list of local producers number about 80 and continues to grow.

“It’s neat to hear the kitchen staff get excited about Arizona’s newest produce,” LaPrad said. “There are cucumbers and tomatoes that we (in the industry) have never seen before, and it’s like getting a new toy every day.”

LaPrad creates a new menu daily based on what is seasonally available.

The signature Quiessence dining option is The Farmer’s Feast, a multi-course meal for $65 per person, with an optional wine pairing for $35.

Recent menu items include shaved baby carrot salad with candied pancetta, baby greens, red onions, blue cheese and apple cider vinaigrette for starters, pork belly and boudin blanc sausage as an entree with braised farm greens,and glazed baby carrots. For dessert, there’s Black Mesa Ranch goat cheesecake with pistachio meringue and fresh citrus.

To see the daily menu, visit http://quiessencerestaurant.com/menus.php.

Quiessence is located at The Farm at South Mountain, 6106 S. 32nd St., and can be found at the far southwest corner of the property. For more information, call (602) 276-0601.

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