By Alison Bailin Batz
Photo by Debby Wolvos
Executive sous chef Jayson Thompson leads all things culinary at Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, where he oversees the property’s concepts, including the award-winning Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen.
When did you first jump into the kitchen?
My mom’s family is from Sicily, so our lives revolved around making big Italian meals together. In addition, my uncle owned a small restaurant in California where I grew up, so when I wasn’t in the kitchen at home, I was in the kitchen there.
How did you get your professional start as a chef?
After graduation, I wanted to learn about world cuisines, so I enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena in the early 2000s. Toward the end, culinary icon James Corwell – one of only 68 certified master chefs nationwide – was looking for chefs to join him at a new hotel concept in Palm Springs, and I jumped at the opportunity.
Tell us about your journey to Arizona.
After working under Corwell and a few independent restaurants, I started at Nordstrom. No, not selling clothes! Nordstrom has three nationwide restaurant concepts: a cafe, a bistro and a high-end dining option. I worked on them all, eventually as executive chef. In 2013, I joined the Grand Hyatt in Kauai, where I cooked by day and caught my own fish by night – really! In 2016, the opportunity to stay with the Hyatt brand and join Andaz’s opening team here was offered to me.
How would you describe the menu at Weft & Warp?
Our concept is two-fold: use as many local ingredients as possible and showcase Arizona on every plate. While those remain our pillars, we now showcase all Sonoran Desert flavors, from Baja California to Sonora, Mexico. Think sauces like mole, ranchero and salsa verde and chimichurri-infused dishes. My favorite dish right now is our chorizo pork chop.
What would we be surprised to know about you?
I hate bananas. But I will cook with them as long as someone else does the taste tests!
Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen, 6114 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale; 480.368.1234; www.andazscottsdale.com.