Name: Israel Medina
Occupation: Executive Chef at Salty Sow Restaurant
Name/address/location of restaurant: Salty Sow; 4801 E Cactus Road in Phoenix
How long have you been in business? Since I was 15 years old. Professionally, for about 17 years.
Briefly describe your business/services offered: Salty Sow is an American gastropub that serves contemporary farmhouse fare. Handcrafted cocktails and unique entrees are served fresh daily, mindfully sourced from local farms and purveyors. A neighborhood “gem”, Salty Sow’s chef-driven menu delivers thoughtful farm-to-table eats in a rustic-contemporary setting, making it a trusted and favored neighborhood eatery.
What made you choose this line of work and why is it important or interesting to you? I grew up with a single mother who raised three children at home while working simultaneously in the restaurant business. I was the oldest sibling and always trying to help my mom in the kitchen. She showed me how to prepare food and really involved me in the cooking experience. From then on, I have had a love for cooking.
At the end of the day, what brings you the most joy or is the most rewarding aspect of your job? Making people excited about the food that they are eating. I love to hear from guests about their experience and the food; its always rewarding to get compliments.
What separates you from your competition? The dedication to our food, Salty Sow is a 100% scratch kitchen. All of the dressings are made from scratch as well as our brines, we put a lot of love into each dish and ingredient that is served at the restaurant.
Where are you from? Born and raised in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
Who was the biggest influence in your life? My mother—she is such a hard worker and gave our family a lot of love, and kindness.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a chef or in the restaurant industry? Keep true to yourself and believe in the food that you are putting out to your guests. Don’t let anyone change who you are.