In His Element
Personal chef Scotty Irani shares his heritage and love of food with others.
Imagine walking into a kitchen and immediately smelling the aroma of a glorious meal being lovingly prepared by your very own personal chef. This is exactly what Chef Scotty Irani’s clients experience on a daily basis.
A Sapulpa native, Irani has catered to the culinary whims of Oklahoma City residents for the last seven years as a personal chef. Before that, he owned Scotty’s, a neighborhood gourmet breakfast and sandwich shop in Nichols Hills. Although he sold the restaurant in 2006, he credits that experience, plus his supportive upbringing, with making him the chef he is today. Not only does he cook for Oklahoma City’s elite, he also has a line of spices, rubs, sauces and a podcast, called “In the Kitchen with Scotty.”
Growing up in a multi-cultural home exposed him to a wide array of food experiences. Since his father is Persian and his mom is Pennsylvania Dutch, Irani encountered everything from saffron to shoofly pie.
His father cooked more savory dishes, while his mom did the baking. He credits both of them with teaching him how to cook with love.
From an early age, he learned the art of cooking low and slow to make meat tender and bring out wondrous flavors and aromas. “My father always told me to take my time and be patient when cooking,” he says. When he cooks, Irani can hear his dad saying, “Don’t rush it.”
Irani recalls the day that he realized he wanted to be a chef. “One day when I was 5 years old, I was watching my father make breakfast. He pulled my little red step-stool up to the stove and asked me to stir the scrambled eggs. While we were cooking, I told him that I wanted to cook when I grew up. That was the first time I ever heard the word ‘chef.’
“I wrote down recipes on a Big Chief tablet. While other kids were outside playing, I was inside watching Julia Child on PBS,” he fondly remembers.
His parents further nourished his developing passion by encouraging him to make grocery lists and cook dinner.
He never wavered from the decision he made that one fateful day in the kitchen. He eventually graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in hotel and restaurant administration and then continued on to Johnson and Wales Culinary School in Providence, R.I.
Before returning to Oklahoma, he worked and studied in Paris, Boston, San Francisco and Destin, Fla.
“When I cook, I am constantly thinking about the people for whom I am cooking and what they would like to eat,” Irani says.
Irani’s products are available for purchase at New Leaf Florist in Oklahoma City or through Irani’s website, www.inthekitchenwithscotty.com.
Kookoo Sabzi with Walnuts and Barberries
(Persian Herbed Frittata)
1 large bunch of fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 large bunch of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1-2 large bunches scallions, green parts only, chopped (about a cup)
1 c. fresh dill, roughly chopped
1 c. walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
1/3 c. barberries, soaked in water for 10-15 minutes and rinsed a few times (if you can’t find barberries, dried cranberries are a good substitute)
5-6 large eggs
2-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. flour
1/3 tsp. turmeric
A good pinch of In the Kitchen with Scotty’s Cook’s Line Seasoning, or salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an oven-proof, nonstick sauté pan, add olive oil to coat. Lightly sauté everything green with turmeric and season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Allow the mixture to cool. In a large mixing bowl, combine chopped walnuts, barberries, flour, sautéed greens and remaining olive oil and pour the well-beaten egg over the ingredients. Mix thoroughly until combined. Pour the mixture back into the sauté pan and place in the middle rack of the oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 40-45 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the foil. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Place the slices on a platter and serve with warmed flat bread or sesame “barbari” bread, cucumber-mint yogurt and lime wedge for a little tartness.