Chef Chat: Mercer Mohr of Timo on Central

Get to know Mercer Mohr, corporate chef of Wild Thyme Restaurant Group, including Timo on Central (stay tuned for our review), Brick, Ken’s Creekside, the brand-new Timo in Sedona and more.
Have you always been interested in the culinary arts? My mother is an artist and made it very clear to my father and later, the kids, she didn’t cook. Mom’s day job was designing kitchens. We got a new kitchen like most families got new cars. The refrigerator was always full, and we had all the latest gadgets to play with. Whenever you were hungry, you made something to eat. Other than Thanksgiving, it was very seldom we all sat down together for a meal; however, we would often go out to restaurants as a family. Later in college, I started working in restaurants and soon found I had a knack for ice carving. That experience encouraged me to apply to The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
What is new at Timo on Central this spring? Our upcoming summer menu will feature farm-to-table organic produce and fresh local poultry, Page Springs trout, Colorado lamb and corn-fed, dry-aged beef, just to name a few. We are also excited to start serving local Arizona wines by Javelina Leap Winery, also located in Page Springs. Come by and try the pecan-crusted trout with a glass of pinot grisio-rose by Javelina Leap winery.
How can at-home chefs lighten up their meals as summer approaches? The biggest change families can make to start eating lighter would be to plan shopping to include fresh produce and fresh or raw meats/seafood. Avoid processed foods that are full of sulfates and preservatives. Cook in volume, and portion meals that can be eaten later on in the week or frozen. If you want to be creative, I would suggest experimenting with Thai cuisine and ingredients. Learning about how to use such ingredients as lemongrass, basil, mint, nuts and fish sauce will open up a whole new healthy Asian flavor profile. If this is something your family likes, you may want to start looking at Vietnamese recipes. These cultures have very flavorful, fresh ingredients in every dish.
Midnight snack: Vanilla ice cream
Pizza topping: Meat Lover’s, probably Italian sausage
Bottle of wine: Medium dry toasty Champagne or sparkling. My go-to in the grocery store  is 93 Gloria Ferrer 2004 Royal Cuvée Brut (Carneros). It’s affordable at $32 a bottle.
Culinary city: No question: San Francisco is my favorite; however, New York is where I go most often to see what’s “up and coming” for the future in the USA.

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