HI, MY NAME IS… Evan Gotanda.

I’VE LIVED IN NORTH SCOTTSDALE FOR ABOUT A YEAR AND A HALF AND I LOVE IT BECAUSE… anything I could possibly need is within walking distance of my house, or a short drive away. All the people I have come across so far have been very friendly and living across the street from arboleda, the restaurant where I’m head chef, makes for a very easy commute.

A TYPICAL DAY IN MY LIFE INCLUDES… work, work, work. I’ll usually get to arboleda in the morning and start prepping for the day, doing office work, etc. I’ll wait for my sous chefs to get in, go over anything they need to know for the day, and then finish setting up the line for service. Once my service is done, I’ll walk back home, have dinner with my wife, and catch up on our favorite TV shows.
MY FAMILY IS… very important to me, though it’s just my wife and me here. Being away from family is difficult, but getting to visit them and exploring the cities they live in gives us something to look forward to.

ONE THING I CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT IS… sweets. My wife and I have quite a sweet tooth, especially for ice cream.

MY FAVORITE MOVIE I COULD NEVER GET TIRED OF WATCHING AND WHY IS… “Miracle,” the true story of Herb Brooks, the player-turned-coach who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to victory. A lot of people don’t know I played hockey growing up, and I find it so cool that it really happened.

WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, I WANTED TO BE… a marine biologist.

THE SONG I WOULD SING AT KARAOKE NIGHT IS… there’s too many to choose from, but most likely something by Bad Religion or Dr. Dre.
THE ONE PERSON WHO MOTIVATES ME IS… Mitch Rosenthal, one of the chefs and co-owners at arboleda. He still helps us prep and will work the line with us even to this day. He’s constantly pushing.

THE LAST THING THAT MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD WAS… probably at work when hanging out with Mitch and my wife. My wife Ramona, arboleda’s pastry chef, has worked with Mitch, Steven, and Bjorn (the other two co-owners) longer than I have. Typically, when we’re all together, there’s a lot of laughing.

THE PERFECT DAY IS… having a nice relaxing day off. Going to the Asian markets in Mesa to get snacks and then just hanging out.

MY FAVORITE LOCAL NONPROFIT IS… any local food bank that is helping to end food insecurity in the Valley: Phoenix Rescue Mission, United Food Bank, St. Vincent de Paul, and St. Mary’s, to name a few.

MY LIFE IS… full of surprises. Working in the restaurant industry, you never know what is going to happen. Just recently in the middle of service, the fire alarm went off for about 20 minutes. In the middle of that, our oven door broke and wouldn’t stay shut.

THE BEST GIFT I’VE EVER RECEIVED WAS… not necessarily a gift but before we left San Francisco, my wife and I got married. We had a great wedding, and it was thanks to so many people pitching in to help out in some form.

MY DREAM VACATION WOULD BE… Japan. I’ve gone once before and am going again later this year. I love visiting there.

THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I’VE EVER RECEIVED IS… someone a long time ago told me that no matter what you do in your life or career, strive to be the best at it.