While there may be Paleo-friendly restaurants in Arizona, there’s only one that’s 100 percent Paleo: Sapiens Paleo Kitchen in Scottsdale. Good news for followers of the popular diet, Sapiens is helmed by distinguished chef Aurore de Beauduy-Yasinsky. She designs the menu using Paleo principles—naturally raised meats, high-quality fats and oils, fruits, nuts, veggies—with a French twist. Here, de Beauduy-Yasinsky dishes about famous people for whom she’s cooked and why she decided to open the first Paleo restaurant in the state. 10411 E. McDowell Mountain Ranch Road, Ste. 120, Scottsdale, 480.771.5123
What is unique about Sapiens Paleo Kitchen? We bake our own grain-free bread, make our own mayo and ketchup, and create sauces and vinaigrettes adapted from French cuisine.
How do French cooking and Paleo principles align? French cuisine isn’t defined by one ingredient. Rather, it’s a deep understanding of how ingredients work together and complement one another. So even though Paleo eliminates grains, dairy, sugar and beans/legumes, there is so much left to work with: vegetables, meats, seafood, nuts, herbs. It’s easy to substitute one ingredient for another to achieve perfect balance.
What are the must-try dishes? Duck confit ($28), escargot ($15) or the meatloaf ($19) with veal and Kobe beef.
What is the most gratifying aspect of chef life? Cooking is an art. And like any art, food can touch us emotionally. When I can make food that elevates someone’s spirit and brings pleasure, that’s highly gratifying.
Who is the most memorable person you’ve ever cooked for? Ray Charles. I prepared lunch for him at the Blues Festival in Chicago before he gave one of his last live performances. He requested crawfish étouffée, and I made him my version, which is served over polenta instead of rice. He said it was the best he’s ever had, shook my hand and thanked me before going onstage.
Favorite thing to cook? I find it enjoyable to work with fresh fish. A well-prepared fish with a skillfully paired garnish and a complementary sauce requires a lot of practice and defines a master chef.
What is always in your kitchen? Herbs, olive oil, shallots