It’s a good thing Branden Levine finished second place on the Food Network‘s Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell back in September. Instead of moving to Napa, California, the 41-year-old Phoenix resident is whipping up unique, mouthwatering contemporary American specialities at the absolutely gorgeous Cafe Monarch in Old Town Scottsdale. With a three-course prix fixe menu that changes weekly, Levine is able to incorporate organic, locally sourced, seasonal ingredients into every dish, keeping customers coming back for more since he never repeats a menu.
The Fort Lauderdale, Florida native is gearing up for a Mother’s Day brunch, Sunday, May 11, including seared lobster cake on toasted brioche. The brunch is unique not only because of the holiday, but also because Cafe Monarch is usually only open for dinner. Get more details on the brunch here.
Learn more about what drives Levine’s culinary creativity, and scroll down to watch him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley.
What brought you to Arizona?
My wife and I moved out here about a year and a half ago from Virginia. I worked in Washington, D.C., but the restaurant I was working at closed down after about 10 years of being open.
My wife’s brother and his wife are partners with a home healthcare company here, and they offered her a position in marketing. That’s what led us out here. Continue reading