Citizen Staff Writer
Meet the chef
Address and phone: 2990 N. Swan Road, 325-3895
Meet Christopher Prier, chef de cuisine at Luna Bella Italian Cuisine & Catering.
Born in Würzburg, Germany, Prier grew up in various countries and around the United States while his father was serving in the military. His family eventually moved to southern Arizona, where he graduated from Canyon del Oro High School and got his first restaurant job as a dishwasher at Oro Valley Country Club.
After a brief sabbatical in Seattle, where he worked as a bar back at a restaurant, Prier returned to Oro Valley and the country club, where he worked in the pantry station. From there, he went to work for chef Albert Hall, who was then at Hacienda Del Sol Resort. Prier also did a brief stint at Sullivan’s Steakhouse, then rejoined Hall at his newly opened Acacia. Prier then went on work in the banquet kitchen at the J.W. Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa, Tucson Country Club, and the Preserve in SaddleBrooke, where he was chef de cuisine and later executive sous chef.
In August, the 25-year-old Prier gave Steve Schultz a call about an opening, and after a tryout, was hired as chef de cuisine for Luna Bella, which opened in October.
Question: What’s your favorite restaurant in Tucson?
Answer: I’d have to go with The Grill at Hacienda Del Sol or Acacia.
What’s your favorite dish to prepare and why?
Anything I haven’t made yet, the reason being, I didn’t go to school for my craft. So every time I pick up a knife, I’m trying to figure how to do something a different way or learn something new.
What’s your favorite dish to eat?
I eat a hefty amount of sushi.
What’s unique about the Tucson restaurant scene compared to other cities?
This scene feels more interconnected than most. Everybody knows everybody.
What’s your favorite or most-used gadget or kitchen utensil?
Heat. I’ve got to say the flame.
What do you always have in your refrigerator?
It’s kind of embarrassing, but I guess beer and just something I can pull out really quick and make a sandwich out of.
Why are you a chef?
You know, I really don’t know if I have an answer for that, other than that I just know this is what I’m supposed to do. Some people don’t find out what they really want to do until their 30s or 40s, so I guess I’m pretty lucky.