From Minnesota to New York to Arizona arrives a new leader at Matt Carter’s esteemed Scottsdale restaurant, The Mission.
They say you have to start somewhere. For Zachary Riddell, the newly named executive chef of The Mission Old Town (3815 N. Brown Ave., 480.636.5005) and The Mission Kierland (7122 E. Greenway Parkway, Ste. 140, 480.292.7800), “somewhere” was in upstate New York studying architecture. He made the move away from drafting tables and into the kitchen after landing a job as a cook at Cornell University. “I immediately loved the intensity of cooking, being in the trenches with your teammates, dodging grenades,” Riddell says.
Fueled by his newfound passion, he applied and got accepted to the elite Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and then made his way to Phoenix upon graduation. Not knowing much about the staples of Southwestern food—lots of chiles and spices—Riddell managed to nab a job at The Mission, a place known for its creativity with modern Latin cuisine, which shares much in common with the dishes of our region. “They hired me on the spot so long as I was willing to start at the bottom rung,” Riddell says.
Nearly a decade later, and after performing every role in The Mission’s kitchen—line cook, chef and chef de cuisine—this Minnesota-born, New York-raised chef has mastered the art of spicy fare.