Tools They Use: Charro Steak executive chef Gary Hickey

By Jackie Tran
November 29, 2016

Tools They Use takes a look at local food artisans, such as chefs, bakers, brewers, and more with a simple photo displaying their signature items and favorite tools.

Gary Hickey is executive chef at Charro Steak and culinary director for the Flores family of restaurants. Hickey has also cooked at Metropolitan Grill, City Grill, McMahon’s Prime Steakhouse, and Sullivan's Steakhouse.


Butcher Boy Bandsaw

"When Carlotta, Ray, and I started brainstorming the concept of a ranch-to-table Mexican-inspired steakhouse, the first thing we needed was a bandsaw. Thanks to Mr. Bill Bode and Chris Ahlers with Shamrock Foods, we were able to find the original Dickman's Meat & Deli saw. With a little love and a three-phase converter, this is one of my favorite tools. The Butcher Boy is instrumental in our center-of-the-plate program."

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Masking Tape, Sharpie, Pen

"Label, date, rotate!"

Tortilla Press

"Hello? Mexican-inspired steakhouse."

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Small Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl

"'Pass me a bowl!' This one is for Daniel Thomas and Dave Valencia. Plus it is great for mixing fresh herbs with infused oils and vinegar.

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Calphalon Katana Cutlery 8-Inch VG Chef's Knife

"A gift from a long-time friend Chef Thayer Johnson, my go-to knife for everyday mise en place. Chopping, dicing, and slicing of cooked meats — this knife has a great weight and hard steel that holds a great edge."

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Victorinox Fibrox Pro 10" Cimeter Knife

"A butcher's go-to. Love this knife, from rib-eyes to salmon, this knife does it all."

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Dexter-Russell - V133-8PCP - 8" V-Lo Fillet Knife

"This knife gets the most attention out of all my knives in my bag. With a price tag of $15, it's the best value."

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Benchmade Limited Edition Mel Pardue Auto Open Pocket Knife

"My biggest pet peeve is when someone uses a kitchen knife to open a box. We get close to 200 cases a week at Charro Steak and my Benchmade has been a great tool for everyday use. Also, the Benchmade logo is a butterfly so it reminds me of my mom who passed away from lupus a few years back."

Dexter-Russell (1227-14) - 14" Butcher Steel

"Sharp knives are safe knives. Please take care of your knives, people."

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Citrus Juicer

"We use fresh juice for everything from table-side guacamole to our jalapeño apple slaw."

Taylor Precision Products Digital Portion Control Scale (11-Pound)

"Like Biggie said, 'I had to find the buried treasure, so grams I had to measure.' Our business functions on razor-thin margins from labor cost, pour cost, and the most important, food cost. I have trusted Taylor Scales since my early days at P.F. Chang's and we use them at Charro Steak and our USDA Factory Carlotta's Kitchen for everything portion-controlled."

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Waiter's Corkscrew

"I navigate between the back-of-house and front-of-house daily. I open more bottles of wine then I do emails. Also, this is a great substitute if I forget my pocket knife."

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Bone Dust Scraper

"Ben Forbes said it best, 'no one like bits of bone dust on their steaks.' Plus it's always fun to pretend it's a tongue scraper. Never gets old."

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CDN DTQ450X Digital ProAccurate Quick-Read Thermometer-NSF Certified

"Don't be Kenny Loggins, stay out of the danger zone. Food safety is our number one concern in all of our restaurants. At Charro Steak, all of our cooks use the quick-read for steaks, burgers, fish, and sauces. My personal favorite — rib eye, charred medium-rare, Estillo Charro, charred lemon, flour tortillas, and refried beans, 125 degrees internal temperature. Nom nom nom."

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Manager's Card

"The most utilized tool in our restaurants. Comps, item availability, employee clock in, checks outs. They also double as gift cards available in any denomination at Charro Steak."

Titan Peeler

"If you don't know, now you know."

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KitchenAid Shears

"KitchenAid kitchen shears are a necessity to any kitchen. At El Charro, Sir Veza's and Charro Steak, we use sous vide for almost 90% of our production. The kitchen shears are sharp and long enough to keep you from burning yourself when opening the bags."

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Casamigos Tequila Añejo

"Well you all know how I love my tequila and this is my go-to when showing a guest our tabla program at Charro Steak or when I'm just wanting to sip good tequila. Please, friends, sip good tequila and eat good food."

Executive Chef Gary Hickey at Charro Steak (Credit: Jackie Tran)
Executive Chef Gary Hickey at Charro Steak (Credit: Jackie Tran)

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Article By

Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran's Fats. Although he is best known locally for his work for Tucson Foodie, his work has also appeared in publications such as Bon...

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