Spring has sprung and that means it is time for the Valley’s culinary greats to step it up with major dining events. Here are some you simply can’t miss:
Dinners to Wine About
Boulders Resort & Spa, 6:30 p.m. March 30
Fresh off his 2016 win on Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay,” Boulders Resort & Spa executive chef Brian Archibald is teaming up with world-renowned Master Sommelier Michael Jordan for a “Sommelier & Chef Wine Dinner.” Hosted in the Boulders’ Organic Garden at the Spa and limited to just 25 guests, the outdoor dinner will feature a welcome reception then a five-course meal and personal time with Archibald and Jordan.
Boulders Resort and Spa, 34631 N. Tom Darlington Drive, Carefree, 480.488.7349, $125 and up.
- Cook’s at Royal Palms Resort and Spa, 6 p.m. April 6
- Cook’s chef Todd Allison invites 18 guests to join him under the stars for “Cellar Series in the Mansion Courtyard” in the Mansion Courtyard to enjoy a three-course, prix-fixe menu paired with wines handpicked by a famed winemaker each month. In April, T. Cook’s is partnering with Paul Hobbs Wines. Nicknamed the “Steve Jobs of Wines” by Forbes Magazine, Paul Hobbs once mentored under Robert Mondavi, and is credited not only with driving the wine industry in California, but helping to discovery the now-thriving wine region in Argentina.
Royal Palms Resort and Spa, 5200 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, 602.808.0766, $120 and up.
Farmer in the House Series
Each year since 2006, fourth generation farmer Pat Duncan, whose popular Duncan Trading Company farm in Laveen grows more than 150 fruits and vegetables for use by local chefs and resorts, has partnered with restaurants across the Valley on a series of hyper-local, farm-to-table dinners affectionately called “The Farmer in the House.”
“Through the program, each chef creates a unique menu utilizing the freshest, most flavorful fruits and vegetables from my farm,” Duncan says. “Each chef also aligns with a vineyard partner or works with his/her in-house team to pair each course with wines that highlight the produce and flavors of each course.”
A portion of proceeds from each event are donated to the Association of Arizona Food Banks, whose mission is to deliver food and services to food banks and to foster relationships in support of eliminating hunger across our state. Each dinner starts at 6 p.m. and prices for the dinners range from $60 to $110, which vary based on the venue, winery partner and number of courses. Some we are excited about:
Vincent’s on Camelback, March 24
Chefs/owners Vincent and Leevon Guerithault are partnering with DRNK Winery for the dinner that focuses on small lot wines based in the Russian River Valley in Northern California.
Sassi Ristorante, March 29
This marks executive chef Christopher Nicosia and Sassi’s third year taking part in the program. This year, its sommelier is pairing multiple vineyards and varietals with their one-night-only dinner.
Arcadia Farms, April 6
Arcadia Farms’ chef/owner Carolyn Ellis has paired her dinners with wineries from the Russian River Valley and France in recent years, but is mixing things up this year with a partner or two from the Central Coast.
Hearth, April 21
The highly anticipated Hearth, set to open in early March at the renovated Mountain Shadows Resort, will be a first-year partner on the program. Executive chef Chuck Wiley, who hosted farmer dinners at his former venue, Café ZuZu, will head the program.
Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn, April 27
Executive chef Jeremy Pacheco his will welcome Willcox-based Carlson Creek Vineyard to join him in creating a uniquely “Arizona” multicourse wine dinner.
For more information, visit duncanstradingco.com.
The James Beard Dinner
Each year, the Valley’s brightest chefs gather to prepare eight sumptuous courses for an intimate crowd of foodies to raise funds for the Scottsdale League for the Arts during the Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner. The event, which also features a reception and cocktail hour with its own host of high-end fare, is among the hottest culinary tickets of the year.
Set for March 23 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, resort chefs Chris Masco and Derek Biazo are slated to start the evening’s events. They host and oversee the reception, where they will feature goat cheese ravioli with ingredients from a local farm as well as specialties from the Sphinx Date Ranch to support local and pair them with Arizona prime beef tenderloin, caviar and uni (sea urchin) panna cotta, among other sweet and savory small bites, to whet guests’ palates before dinner.
Guests will then be placed in the trusted hands of James Beard and Emmy award winner Ming Tsai for some of his famous “east-meets-west” fare, followed by Michael Ginor, co-founder of Hudson Valley Foie Gras and New York State Foie Gras, the most comprehensive Foie Gras producer in the world, for a foie gras tasting.
Brad Kilgore, who was just named a 2016 “Best New Chef” honoree by Food + Wine Magazine, will then join in on the fun along with John Tesar, who will be fresh off competing in the most recent season of Top Chef. Guests can expect a luxurious play on surf and turf from these courses, followed by dessert delivered by Nancy Silverton, who took home the James Beard equivalent of an Oscar in 2014 when she was named the organization’s overall most “Outstanding Chef” of the year.
Each course—including the reception course—will be paired with wines from Chateau St. Michelle, Washington’s oldest and most acclaimed winery.
For more information, visit scottsdalefest.org/2017jamesbeard