“An Expensive Knife Won’t Make This Steak Taste Any Better”

Who: Chef Doug Smith
What: The Menu
Where: The Bourbon Cellar in North Scottsdale
By: Erik Merkow

Who doesn’t love a beautiful cut of USDA Prime filet?? When you hear that and think of where you might go in the valley, I know your first thought is City Hall, Dominick’s, Flemings, Capital Grill. The list could go on and on! And by the way, we love those places too! BUT…. (yes, that’s a big butt!), The Bourbon Cellar is doing all of that and more!

Photo by: Erik Merkow Photography www.erikmerkowphotography.com

Chef Doug Smith brings vast knowledge and deep connections to the Arizona culinary scene in order to eliminate the prices you might see at those fine establishments. Chef Smith believes you should be able to enjoy the finest cuts of steak and relax in the clothes, shoes, and environment you want, without there having to be a hefty laundry bill included (his or yours). Chef also believes there’s no reason to have white linens, dressed up staff, expensive steak knives and silverware. “That knife and fork won’t change the way your steak tastes!” said chef when we sat down to talk to him about all the fantastic creations that he brings to the wood tabletops at The Bourbon Cellar.

Photo by: Erik Mekrow Photography

The food isn’t the only unique creations the Bourbon Cellar has to offer. You’ll also find that chef Smith supports Arizona local artist with the art installments of Katie Von Kral (Art by KVK). Katie, a professional artist for over twenty-three years, is one of the only female speed painters in the country where her work has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local and national charities. Chef has an affinity for Katie’s work and, as a veteran himself, fell in love with “Freedom” a giclée of Von Kral’s modern interpretation of the American flag. This piece is prominently displayed in the main dining room along with her Johnny Cash speed painting and other favorite “Born Free” of a 1947 Knucklehead. You can purchase any of these pieces when you visit Bourbon Cellar and walk out with original artwork, and a full tummy! (You can also find Von Kral and her work at www.artbykvk.com).

As a firm believer in originality, Chef is also a very firm believer in farm to table in every facet. I remember when I first heard about farm to table and thought it was a bit silly. Okay, it’s organic and what does that really mean? I’ve come to learn its SOOOOOO much more than that! The farm to table concept means there are no chemical additives to spur growth and eliminate taste. That farm to table product provides food with vibrant tastes you’re not used to with fast food, grocery store products, and even fisheries. Those fish are stressed and crammed together in small tanks at feeding time and eating their own “you know what” when they’re hungry, creating a no pun intended, crappy product. Chef Smith only brings in fresh fish, and shellfish caught the day before from long time fishing friends and connections. The same goes for all of his meat where he takes personal pride in the butchering, with his local partnerships here in the valley. Chef Smith wants you to come in so he can educate you on true farm to table, answer any questions you might have, and simply taste the difference.

Chef Doug Smith. Photo by: Erik Merkow Photography

Chef Smith learned to cook in the service where his good friend was head chef on the Navy ship he served. Doug hung out with him for a few days where the passion was sparked, and he found his love of serving his country and his countrymen with great food. Chef does a remarkable thing on the 3rd Wednesdays of every month. It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet that changes every month for anyone who served this great country of ours, with all the proceeds being donated to the local American Legions.

Chef Smith believes The Bourbon Cellar is unique because of the passion he and his staff bring to the table, literally. Not one thing in his restaurant is processed food and you understand that the moment it lands on your taste buds. His business is not about the money, it’s about the experience, educational process and he himself learning something every day to personally be better.

If you’re looking for a favorite new place with a relaxed environment, incredible food, and passionate people who want to make a difference in how you experience and enjoy your food, then get into The Bourbon Cellar. Be sure to say hi to Chef Smith and tell him AZ Food & Wine sent you…and promise me you’ll order the wasabi deviled eggs for starters!

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