Chopped judge and celebrity chef Scott Conant is about to grow his restaurant empire, with a new project in a somewhat unexpected city: Phoenix, Arizona.
According to the Arizona Republic, Conant’s partnering with local Italian chef Stefano Fabbri, who owns a small Arizona chain of Neapolitan pizzerias, to open a "modern osteria" called Mora Italian later this year
"I thought it could be so much fun to be able to do something without the pressures of New York," Conant told the paper. "With the economic pressures of New York, I feel like sometimes it limits the creative, because you need to hit a grand slam right away, so it’s hard to be whimsical."
No word on exactly what kind of "whimsical" dishes Phoenix diners can expect to find at Mora just yet, though.
Hopefully Conant’s expansion into Arizona goes more smoothly than his foray into Canada: After the chef penned a weirdly condescending open letter to the city of Toronto ahead of opening a Scarpetta branch there in 2010, the restaurant was dogged by critics and eventually shuttered in 2014. A Beverly Hills location of Scarpetta closed earlier this year, though outposts in Miami and Vegas remain open.
• NYC Celeb Chef Scott Conant to Open Phoenix Restaurant [AZ Central]