Classic Southwestern cooking gets no better than The Roaring Fork in Scottsdale, Arizona! Using the highest quality, freshest ingredients, Chef Michael Bouwens uses simple flavors and classic wood firing to bring them to life! Stone décor and rustic touches combine with a clean, elegant ambiance to create a homey, casually upscale vibe. Stop in for an upbeat “happy hour” at the bar, or enjoy Chef Bouwens’ “cowboy cooking” in their cozy dining room or on one of their climate-controlled, open patios! Able to accommodate your next lively celebration or intimate dinner, The Roaring Fork provides a memorable dining experience that defies expectations! I got a chance to speak to Chef Michael Bouwens to learn more about him and his restaurant!
RD: What culinary training and experience helped shape your technique?
CB: I have a lot of background in French cooking, so I do a lot of old-school braising and French techniques. In the restaurant, we do a lot of slow-roasting, braising, old-world techniques.
RD: Congratulations on being made Executive Chef at Roaring Fork! What new dimension do you bring to the restaurant?
CB: We’re getting back to basics! One of my philosophies is basically “perfecting simplicity,” meaning using the freshest ingredients that we can find and just doing minimal to them to bring out the flavors of the food!
RD: The Roaring Fork was named the “Best in Phoenix” winner by New Times – what keeps your restaurant a cut above the rest?
CB: I think our location is part of it! We’ve been around for a long time, we have a big following here near Phoenix, and we’re just at the top of our games!
RD: How does your location in Scottsdale, Arizona make your restaurant different than the Roaring Fork locations in Texas?
CB: It’s the first restaurant in the group, so as far as design characteristics it gets you back into the mindset of “cowboy cooking!” We have a lot of stone in the restaurant and a lot of rustic feel to it!
RD: How would you describe the overall vibe of your menu?
CB: I would say it’s Southwestern – we like to call it “cowboy cooking,” as I said! It’s a lot of stuff you would do over natural wood fires, so we do a lot of grilling, a lot of braising. We use a lot of products that you would see the Old West cowboys cooking on the wagon train and stuff like that!
RD: What are some of your favorite dishes currently on your menu?
CB: Currently, my favorite dish, and I can’t get past it for some reason, is our braised short-rib with natural braising liquids, Dr. Pepper barbeque sauce, and horseradish mashed potatoes!
RD: What kind of atmosphere can diners expect from The Roaring Fork?
CB: It’s different depending on if you’re sitting in the dining room or during “happy hour” at the bar! “Happy hour” at the bar is going to be more upbeat and casual. Our dining room will be a little bit more cozy, more quiet, a little more intimate!
(Photo courtesy of The Roaring Fork)