Kitchen Doors: Chef Cory Oppold Sets a Course for Fine Dining

Chef Cory Oppold has worked for some of Arizona’s most acclaimed restaurants and chefs. In May 2023, he opened his own restaurant in Scottsdale called Course. “I’ve been dreaming about having my own restaurant since I was in culinary school,” he said. “It’s everything and more that I hoped for, and it’s been really fun building it.”

Like many chefs, Oppold had to pivot when the pandemic closed Atlas Bistro, where he had worked for several years.

“During the pandemic, people wanted to enjoy fine dining but didn’t want to go out, so I focused on offering multi-course tasting menus in people’s homes and thought about how I could translate the experience to a restaurant,” Oppold said.

In February 2022, Oppold met investors Brett and Christian Pezzuto at a wine dinner, and Course started to take shape. “We were looking to create an experience where diners could have fun and enjoy a high-end tasting menu in a relaxed atmosphere with great hospitality and exceptional service,” Oppold said.

Course offers three dining options with menus that change regularly, including a 10-course dinner Thursday through Saturday and a five-course dinner Tuesday and Wednesday, with wine pairings available. Morning Would, which Oppold started as a pop-up, features a multi-course Sunday brunch with upscale twists on familiar favorites like chicken and waffles, and cereal and milk.

“We like to add playful and nostalgic elements to the menu, offering some things people are familiar with and some things they may not have tried before,” Oppold said.

Oppold was raised on a farm in Illinois and moved to Arizona to study architecture. One dinner at the Arizona Biltmore resort in Phoenix changed his career path. 

“When I experienced a high-end restaurant for the first time, I fell in love with the artistic approach to food and fine dining,” Oppold said. “Growing up on a farm, food was more of a source of energy than art. I was interested in making food more of an experience.”

Oppold studied at Scottsdale Culinary Institute and started his career at the iconic Different Pointe of View restaurant in Phoenix. He worked there for several years, starting as a line cook and becoming executive sous chef. He then served as chef de cuisine at L’Auberge de Sedona before returning to Phoenix to teach at his former culinary school. “I learned so much about food by teaching classes,” he said. 

After a few years teaching, Oppold worked as sous chef at Binkley’s, one of Arizona’s most celebrated fine dining restaurants. He then became executive chef at Tarbell’s. His next career move was to Atlas Bistro, where he worked from 2014 until the pandemic hit in 2020. 

“Atlas Bistro was my first opportunity to create my own menu, incorporating what I learned from my past experiences,” said Oppold, who won Food Network’s “Chopped” in 2019.

After receiving great feedback from diners and the media, Oppold is working on new menus for Course, including a holiday menu. 

“I like to bring simplistic elements together to create complex dishes with attention to detail and a focus on presentation,” Oppold said. “People eat with their eyes first. As chefs, it’s our job to make everything taste good, but also to make it look good. That’s where everything comes together.”

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About Shoshana Leon

Shoshana Leon is a culinary writer for Frontdoors Media and creator of Foodie Fo Sho.

From Frontdoors Magazine

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