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Chef Profile: Taite Pearson

In the kitchen with the chef at Sego

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Age: 35

Restaurant: Sego

Number of years in the restaurant business: 18

Past Experience:

Sous chef at Wright's at the Arizona Biltmore in Scottsdale, Ariz., as well as positions at Mary Elaine's The Ventana Room and Janos in Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz. Sous chef at Charlie Trotter's in Chicago, executive sous chef at Brasserie T in Chicago. Founder of Linen There in Tucson, Ariz. Chef de cuisine for Wolfgang Puck's Postrio, Spago and Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill in Las Vegas, Joel Robuchon at The Mansion in Las Vegas, executive chef and director of culinary development for Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group. Private chef for David Geffen. Consulting executive chef at the Viceroy in Santa Monica, Calif.

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Mint tea and a blueberry muffin from Java.

Throughout your career in Idaho, how has the restaurant scene changed and how have you adapted to those changes over time?

I'm hoping that we have changed the scene in the short year Sego has been open.

What do you look to as inspiration for new recipes?

The seasons, farms, ranchers and artisans.

How do you innovate without excluding diners?

Solid technique is innovation. Thoughtful pairings of ingredients without being too esoteric.

What dish would you like to include on your menu, but worry that it might be too forward-thinking for this market?

Foie gras.

What won't you eat?

I eat everything except most fast food and processed foods.

What's the one ingredient you can't live without in your kitchen?

Passion.

What one great meal do you fix only for yourself?

Peanut butter and jelly.

What's the strangest ingredient you've ever put in a dish?

Live baby eels.

Who is the most famous person you've cooked for?

Too many to list.

Where do you like to eat in town?

Rickshaw in Ketchum.

What's the most outrageous thing that's happened in a kitchen where you've worked?

Getting seasick in a kitchen on a private yacht.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only eat three things the rest of your life, what would they be?

Charcuterie, crusty bread and olive oil.

Describe the restaurant you would create if cost and demographic were not an issue.

Working on it as I write. •

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