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Tom Brunner, Brundog’s Zy-De-Que

Citizen Staff Writer
Meet the chef



Address and phone: 4825 N. First Ave., 887-2333

Meet Tom Brunner, chef at Brundog’s Zy-De-Que, which he and wife Marty co-own.

Tom Brunner studied business administration in his native state, at Southern Illinois University, but has spent his adult years cooking at numerous restaurants in three states. At age 13, he started his first job as a dishwasher and prep cook at the Flaming Pit steakhouse. Brunner learned cooking in the European tradition of studying under chefs, but also read a good deal about it.

“When I was in Boston, I didn’t attend the culinary institute there, but I did buy all their course books and read them,” said Brunner, 54.

After five years in Boston, the Brunners moved back to Illinois for a brief period, then to Tucson to be close to Marty’s father.

They bought Capriccio Bistro & Bar, and though Tom Brunner wanted to change the cuisine to the Cajun and Creole fare he had enjoyed since childhood on frequent family vacations to Louisiana, Capriccio’s Italian cuisine had a good following.

“We did Italian for 11 years and did well, but I really wanted to do Cajun and realized that if I didn’t change when I had the chance, I probably never would,” he said. Capriccio became Brundog’s Zy-De-Que in 2006.

Question: What’s your favorite restaurant in Tucson?

Answer: I like a couple places that do things I never cook: The Dim Sum on Sunday at Gee’s Garden Bistro and the Pho at Miss Saigon on Ina Road.

What’s your favorite dish to prepare and why?

I would have to say Shrimp Bienville, which we’ll be making for Mardi Gras.

What’s your favorite dish to eat?

Right now, I’m really craving fresh oysters, because I’m waiting to get some in today for Mardi Gras season.

What’s unique about the Tucson restaurant scene compared to other cities?

We’ve lived here 15 years and the diversity of foods and flavors that has come about in the last seven or eight years has been just amazing.

What’s your favorite or most-used gadget or kitchen utensil?

Has to be my Chef’s knife. It’s like an appendage.

What do you always have in your refrigerator?

Actually, what we have at home is what hasn’t sold in the last couple days at the restaurant.

Why are you a chef?

There are two things. I love food, obviously, and I love the look on people’s faces when they taste something here they’ve never had before.

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