Address and phone: 120 S. Houghton Road, Suite 174, 722-2722
Meet Mo Moslem, chef-owner of Verona Italian Restaurant.
The 55-year-old Moslem says he learned to cook from the best in Tucson, namely the Scordato family.
“I started at Scordato’s 32 years ago, and then I went with Danny to Daniel’s, and then his brother Jim’s place, and then with his brother Joe, when he opened Scordato’s on Broadway,” Moslem said. “I learned a lot of things from a lot of good people, but I think the person I learned most from was Danny.”
Moslem’s European-style training of working under chefs as he gained his culinary prowess later took him to Le Rendez-vous, the Tack Room and Palomino.
His first ownership venture came with the Park Avenue Cafe, a University of Arizona-area sandwich shop he opened in 1994 and closed six years later.
Moslem went back to the Italian fare that was part of his early culinary education with Verona, the East Side eatery he’s owned and operated for nine years.
He recently spoke to Taste Plus.
Question: What’s your favorite restaurant in Tucson?
Answer: Vivace. Danny is my teacher, my hero and my friend, and his food is great.
What’s your favorite dish to prepare and why?
I love to do my shrimp pesto. It’s got a brandy cream sauce and pesto and mozzarella and I bake with Parmesan. People always like it, and they tell me about it.
What is your favorite dish to eat?
Spaghetti and meatballs, all homemade, of course.
What’s unique about the Tucson restaurant scene compared to other cities?
There are a lot of good restaurants here, but since this town is small, everybody knows where they are and how they are.
What’s your favorite or most used gadget or kitchen utensil?
My chef’s knife. I use it for just about everything.
What do you always have in your refrigerator?
Bologna (laughs). That’s about it.
Why are you a chef?
I really care about my restaurant. I really care about what I do. I really don’t trust anybody to touch my food. I’m proud of what I do, and I like to do it myself.
BE THE CHEF
Moslem’s recipe for ChickenSaltimbocca