Article originally published in A Taste of AZ Magazine
If Jeremy Pacheco can trace his Arizona roots back 9 generations, you can bet he has an ingrained passion for the people and food of our great state. As the former Executive Chef of LON’s at the Hermosa Inn, Jeremy Pacheco now serves as Genuine Concept’s Culinary Director. Overseeing 10 brands total—including locations valley wide of The Vig, Ladera Taverna y Cocina in North Phoenix, The McMillan Bar and Kitchen in Flagstaff, Campo Italian Bistro & Bar in Scottsdale, The Little Woody in Arcadia, The Womack, and a new concept The Genuine—Pacheco plans to take the farm-to-market philosophy he set into motion at LON’s and apply them on a larger scale with Genuine Concepts. I met Jeremy at the McDowell location of The Vig to discuss this philosophy and a few exciting menu changes.
When did you transition to Genuine Concepts?
Last April (of 2020). The Hermosa Inn had shut down; I was on for a little bit longer and they realized they didn’t know what they were going to do. They (The Hermosa Inn) ended up letting me go, and I was very fortunate that Genuine Concepts contacted me and offered me a job. It was in a consulting capacity at first and I was able to jump right in. Now as their Corporate Executive Chef/Culinary Director, we may transition into [hiring] an executive chef as well, given the growth we are looking at in the future. I will still be very involved [in the kitchen] but will be doing a little more office work.
I understand that your culinary philosophy is that of offering fresh food, locally grown, refined, focusing on seasonal products. Explain how you plan to continue this philosophy in your current position with Genuine Concepts?
It is a big part of how I operated before at The Hermosa Inn. I have been able to bring in [to The Vig] a lot of great local partners that I used in the past. We work with Sonoran Pasta, Crow’s Dairy, Noble Bread, and Wild Shrimp Company (locally owned, and the shrimp comes from Rocky Point), to name a few. At Lon’s, it was easy to work with five local farmers, but a little more challenging now when we have so many locations. At Campo, Alex Stratta is using McClendon’s Select produce, and I am hoping to start using Bob [McClendon] and some others at the Vigs, but it is difficult when we are doing such a high volume.
Rovey Dairy reached out to me when I was at LON’s, and that is when I started using their sheep’s milk cheeses. We would get the whole lamb from them as well. Then they started crossbreeding Wagyu beef, which is really great. When I transitioned here, we started using Wagyu ground beef in our burgers, which is exciting. We currently have the Rovey Dairy Wagyu strip loin at the McDowell Mountain location and at Campo, as well as using it in our steak tartare. We have also started working with Argentine Imports. They are locally owned and have stormed the food scene lately. We use a grass-fed Argentine 12 oz. ribeye and it is a great product.
They are also bringing in Patagonian Tooth Fish, aka Chilean Sea Bass, and it is some of the best I have had. They are bringing in the whole fish—they call it the “trunk” (head off, tail off, and gutted)—that we use at Campo as well. As for the menu changes, we are starting with one restaurant at a time, instead of trying to change all at once. We are really trying to take a step forward with The Vig menus and I am here to make sure we are doing it right and to ensure the quality.
Thank you, Chef Pacheco, for your time and insight on the local food scene…I look forward to seeing you again at The Vig! For A Taste of AZ readers, check out the A Taste of AZ podcast with Chef Pacheco, Luke Irvin, and yours truly.
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