Citizen Staff Writer
Meet the chef
Address and phone: 306 N. Alvernon Way, 325-3434
Meet Alex Luna, sous chef and acting executive chef at the Lodge on the Desert.
Luna, who was born in Agua Prieta, Son., grew up in Tucson and graduated from Sunnyside High School.
“From early on, I realized that cooking was what I really wanted to do, so I went that direction and have never looked back,” Luna said.
He got his first job in the restaurant business in 1990 as a dishwasher at the Clarion Hotel Tucson Airport. Within three months, he was a pantry cook. Five years later, he was supervising the kitchen.
From there, he went onto chef and sous chef positions at several local resorts, including Westward Look, the Hilton on East Broadway and the downtown Radisson.
After a stint a Parrilla Del Rey restaurant, Luna came to the Lodge on the Desert three years ago as a sous chef. He’s been acting executive chef for a year at the resort, which is undergoing a massive renovation and expansion slated for completion in late March.
Question: What’s your favorite restaurant in Tucson?
Answer: I like the food at Cafe Poca Cosa, and for a good steak, my favorite place is the old Silver Saddle Steakhouse.
What’s your favorite dish to prepare and why?
Arroz con Pollo. A lot of places serve it, but nobody else has my mom’s recipe.
What’s your favorite dish to eat?
I’m a steak man, so I’d have to say a bone-in rib-eye.
What’s unique about the Tucson restaurant scene compared to other cities?
I think it would have to be the traditional Southwest flavors here, which is what I really like about what we do here at the Lodge.
What’s your favorite or most used gadget or kitchen utensil?
You probably hear this all the time, but it would have to be my chef’s knife, because it’s the fastest, best way I’m going to get everything I need to get done in the kitchen.
What do you always have in your refrigerator?
I’m a single parent of three (ages 21, 17 and 11), so I always have the stuff I need to make the basics for them, because they want the simple stuff – spaghetti, tacos, mac and cheese …
Why are you a chef?
I just really like what I do. I don’t ever come to work in a bad mood. I’ve learned how to do this from working with a lot of excellent executive chefs, and that’s what I’m striving to be.
MEET THE CHEF: Alex Luna, Lodge on the Desert