Chef Lisa Dahl is our March Chef of the Month!
1. When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
I had a lifelong dream to open a restaurant. My family was in the fashion retail business, so I always had a background in hospitality working in their retail stores. When I was a kid—something like 17 or 18, I had space in a first of its kind health food store and I sold big avocado sandwiches and hippy grain salads. The healthy homemade food always blew out the door. I knew I was hooked because I lived for the accolades from my loyal patrons. Next, I worked in an amazing newly opened Greek restaurant in Bloomington, IN and will never forget my first chef/teacher who turned me on to making homemade dolmas, hummus, and baba ganoush. That led to my obsessive love of Mediterranean cooking.
2. What are your hobbies outside of the kitchen?
I love to be outdoors and Sedona is such a great place to be able to spend time outside. I have a special talent and love for design, especially houses and restaurants; I have singlehandedly chosen the design of all my restaurants and my two townhouses. This question is particularly prescient since I just broke up with my longtime romantic partner of 13 years and am going through that tough adjustment, learning how to live alone and being happy with myself. I love being in love, and there would be nothing better in my life to meet a new beau, but one who understands that I work hard in my businesses, supports me in that, but also loves to be spontaneous and who would love to travel all over the world for ideas, inspiration, and relaxation
3. Everyone remembers their first encounter with burrata. What is yours?
I enjoyed Burrata for the first time in Italy but until I begin to work with it as a creative medium in all 4 of my restaurants in Sedona, Arizona I truly had a love affair with it. Using Di Stefano Burrata in antipasto, flatbreads, burgers and so many more dishes gives me daily creative license to explore so many unique ways for my guests pure sense of pleasure.
4. If you could make dinner for one person, who would it be?
5. What is your favorite dish to cook and why?
Any elixirs of life aka soups would be my favorite dish to cook because they all take time and I love immersing myself in all the different stages from the start to finish.
6. What has been your greatest accomplishment as a chef?
There has been many great accomplishments in my 23 years of professional cooking, I am very proud to have cooked at the James Beard House twice, recently been nominated as Arizona’s Top Chef 2018 by the Arizona Restaurants Association and was very proud to have faced Bobby Flay on Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay in 2018.
7. If you could give a piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Have a sense of humor- if you can’t laugh at yourself you won’t be cut out for it. Find your own go-tos, things that bring out the alchemist in you and master them