By Alison Bailin Batz / Photo by Debby Wolvos
Sara Garrant serves as the new executive chef of Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, delivering fine cuts of beef, poultry and fish, all slow-poached in butter and grilled over wood-fueled flames.
You’re originally from Alaska?
I am! I grew up in tight-knit community of commercial salmon fishermen in south central Alaska. From a young age, my mom and I would spend summers cooking for our “adopted family” of fishermen – when I wasn’t fishing myself, mind you.
How did you make your way to Arizona?
After high school, I attended Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa, Ontario. Believe it or not, my first foray into the culinary world in the “lower 48” was right here in the Valley after culinary school.
So Alaskan and homegrown, in a way?
Yep. In 2008, I landed a position working under chef Chris Curtiss at Noca. He really helped me develop my culinary style. While working with him, I learned a true appreciation of local produce, sustainable seafood, and a general respect of the products used on a daily basis.
How did you come to join Bourbon Steak?
This is actually my second stint with Bourbon Steak. After Noca, I relocated to San Diego briefly before coming back to Scottsdale to open Isabella’s Kitchen in 2012. In 2013, I joined Bourbon Steak when my mentor, chef Curtiss, moved to the venue. In 2015, I transferred cross-country to take on a position at Michael Mina 74 at Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Culinary chops honed, I came back to Bourbon Steak, this time as executive chef.
What is your approach in the kitchen?
Give everything and everyone a little love. If you take the time to treat the products you are lucky enough to use – and the people you are lucky enough to work beside – with respect, guests can taste the difference.
Do you have a favorite thing to cook?
Given my roots, my heart belongs to seafood!
Bourbon Steak, 7575 E. Princess Drive, Scottsdale; 480.585.2694; www.scottsdaleprincess.com.