Chef Scott Conant is widely recognized as a renowned restaurateur, cookbook author, and celebrity chef with appearances on Bravo's “Top Chef” and Food Network's “Chopped," and the Valley has been abuzz with the news of his move to Arizona and plans to open a Phoenix restaurant. In addition to purchasing a new Scottsdale home, Conant will be debuting Mora Italian with local restaurateur Stefano Fabbri of Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana. Slated for a December launch, this 6000-foot modern osteria promises a convivial, lively atmosphere with a menu featuring Neapolitan-style pizzas, handmade pastas, and craft cocktails. Conant will also maintain his home in New York along with restaurants in New York, Las Vegas and Miami and continue his television commitments. Look for his first major public appearance at the azcentral Food & Wine Experience on Sunday, November 6th, where he will participate in a meet and greet, book signing and cooking demonstration.
I've been a fan for many years, with visits to Scarpetta in Las Vegas on our regular rotation and Conant's Scarpetta Cookbook: 125 Recipes from the Acclaimed Restaurant a well-used favorite. Recently, I had a chance to ask this talented chef some questions about his move to the Valley. Find out why he's looking forward to this new chapter in his life and what he's most excited to bring to Mora Italian.
Welcome to Arizona! We’re thrilled you’ve made the Valley your home and joined our thriving culinary scene. How did you meet Stefano Fabbri? First of all, thank you and I love being here. I couldn’t be happier to be in Phoenix. I am so excited for this next chapter for me and my family. I met Stefano through a mutual friend and then discovered multiple connections.
How did you two decide on the concept of Mora Italian? For me, it was about Stefano seeing what I’ve done and the restaurants I currently have, and I think we identified a lot of mutual motivations for the potential of this restaurant.
When did you make the move to Scottsdale? Initially, I didn’t have any plans to buy a home out here, but I was ready for a change and Phoenix seemed like the perfect place. I moved out here in July.
What helped make your decision that the time was right? There were so many personal and professional factors all aligned that is just felt like the right choice.
What aspect are you most excited about with Mora Italian? The development process and creating dishes that make people happy. I look forward to seeing what the locals like and constantly evolving the menu to continue making people happy.
What, if anything, has surprised you about our local dining scene? The interest in the project which stems from a genuine excitement and enthusiasm from the local community. It’s really amazing how invested everyone I’ve met has seemed in the success of restaurants and local business in this city.
You’ll also be making an appearance at one of our most prestigious culinary events, the azcentral Food & Wine Experience. Were you familiar with it? I had heard of it and have had some friends involved in it. I am really excited to be involved this year.
What are you planning for your Grand Tasting cooking demonstration? We are still tossing around ideas, but I’d love to hear what people would like to see from me!
We’re already anticipating the projected December opening of Mora Italian, are there any other projects on the horizon? Mora is definitely my main focus right now.
For more information on Chef Conant's appearance at the Food & Wine Experience, visit this link: Scott Conant Joins Lineup at azcentral Food & Wine Experience