Carlos Calderon is the Executive Chef at NoRth Italia, "A Love Letter to Italy" in La Encantada. His resume is as impressive as his homemade pasta, including being a Culinary Institute of America grad, and formally working as a Sous Chef at Miraval and as a Chef De Cuisine for Janos Wilder's Janos and J Bar. I have given him my personal Italian seal of approval for his delicious renditions of Italian cuisine, both classic and modern. Chef Calderon is currently featuring a Community Dinner series, which is as much an event as a great meal. If you have not been to one of these, it is without a doubt a bucket list item for Tucson foodies. Stay tuned to Noshing Around for more details.
—C.J. Hamm, email@example.com
What was the first dish you had that changed your perspective on food?
Veal marsala. I was 17 years old and a dishwasher at a country club. I saw the chef during a busy night putting up dozens of these dishes. Once the kitchen slowed down, I asked him what it was and he said "The best thing in the world, veal!" He let me try it and I have never looked at food the same way since. I didn't even know what veal was, but I knew I loved it!
What are you eating these days?
Lots of salads and vegetables. I am getting older and I just can't shed the weight like I once could. Oh, and they are delicious. What was the first dish you remember cooking?
Mushroom stuffed pork loin with red wine and mustard demi glaze, mashed potato and squash. It was terrible! The pork was dry, the sauce was purple, and the mash was like glue. I thought I was a big shot pantry cook and made the dinner for my family. They were very nice about the dinner, but I knew it was bad. What concept, ingredient or food trend does everyone seem to love, but you just can't stomach?
Molecular gastronomy. I hate how contrived it is. Food is naturally so amazing. Why make it look like something it's not? What chef, with us or passed on, would you most like to cook or eat dinner with?
Alice Waters! She's responsible for the popularity of the farm to table movement that has taken place over the last 30+ yrs. Meeting her would invigorate my love of cooking, reaffirm my beliefs in food and be able to use her knowledge to help the movement of delicious food. What city, other than Tucson, is your favorite place to eat?
San Francisco or New York City. Speaking in junk food terms, what is your favorite guilty pleasure?
Oatmeal creampies and chocolate chip ice cream, so good... Top three Tucson restaurants?
Prep and Pastry, Maynard's and St. Mary's Tortilla Factory
With a figurative electric chair in your immediate future, what is your last meal?