Local Chefs Host Delicious Summer Dining Events

By: Shoshana Leon

The Valley has a plethora of talented and creative chefs. In addition to their regular restaurant menus, many local chefs host special dining events that showcase their skills, innovation, and local ingredients. These events not only offer thoughtful and delicious cuisine, but a unique opportunity to interact with chefs and learn more about their culinary inspirations.

Hotel Valley Ho hosts a monthly Monday Night Chef’s Table that highlights creative cuisine featuring local ingredients expertly paired with wine. The May Chef’s Table dinner featured produce from Duncan’s Trading Company as part of its Farmer in the House dining series showcasing the season’s freshest fruits and vegetables at the Valley’s top restaurants.

“We are always using fresh new items from our local farmers and purveyors. We have an open line of communication with our farmers so we can stay on top of the latest news and special produce,” said Hotel Valley Ho’s Executive Chef Russell LaCasce.

Upcoming Monday Night Chef’s Table dinners at Hotel Valley Ho include pairings with California’s Frog’s Leap wines, the Wagner family of wine which includes Caymus and Conundrum, and a champagne dinner in December featuring Moet & Chandon.

Hearth ‘61 at Mountain Shadows, which opened in 2017, has a monthly Sunday Supper Club hosted by Executive Chef Charles Wiley. The May event was part of the Farmer in the House series and the June dinner paired creative cuisine with Arizona’s award-winning Pillsbury wines. Local suppliers play an important part in Hearth 61’s menus including Noble Bread, Two Wash Ranch and Crow’s Dairy.

“Never before has the dining public been so interested and cared so much about where their food comes from and how it is raised,” said Chef Wiley. “We always consider local first, not only for the quality but to support the blossoming community of artisans. These relationships are precious to me and such a rewarding part of being a chef.”

Another chef highlighting local suppliers is Chef Justin Beckett of Beckett’s Table and Southern Rail. In addition to the Grown-Ups Table summer dining series at Beckett’s Table, Chef Beckett hosts the CoLab series at Southern Rail featuring innovative dishes highlighting products from local suppliers. Upcoming CoLab dinners take place on July 26 featuring Roasters of Cave Creek, August 16 featuring Arizona Distilling Company and August 30 featuring Mesa Micro Farm.

Local seasonal ingredients and Arizona wines have been a consistent focus at FnB restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale. Now in its ninth year, FnB hosts a series of luncheons highlighting Arizona winemakers, pairing their wines with Chef Charleen Badman’s award-winning cuisine. The last winemaker luncheon of the summer takes place on July 28 and features Arizona’s Callaghan Vineyards. “We love to showcase local wines and engage the local community,” said Pavle Milic, co-owner of FnB.

For a more intimate experience where you can see a top chef in action in the kitchen, the Omni Scottsdale Resort at Montelucia’s monthly Chef’s Kitchen Secret Garden Dinner series includes four courses prepared by Executive Chef Marcos Seville paired with wines and spirits. Upcoming dinners in the series include A Tribute to Julia Child on August 15 in collaboration with Chef Mark Tarbell, a Dios de Los Muertos celebration, and Scotch and Smoke.

If you want hands-on cooking lessons from an expert, Chef Alex Stratta of Match Restaurant and Lounge in the Found:RE hotel in downtown Phoenix hosts a monthly First Saturday Cooking Class Series. His next cooking class on August 4 highlights fresh summer fruit recipes.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain’s popular Lunch and Learn series returns for its 16th season this summer featuring wine pairings and cooking demonstrations with top chefs. The series kicks off August 4 with television personality Carl Ruiz cooking Italian fare paired with Italian wines. Other guest chefs include Arizona chef James Porter, mixologist and author Tony Abou-Ganim, and Samantha Sanz, Executive Chef at Talavera at the Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale.

It may be hot this summer in the Valley, but these dining events offer a cool way to take your mind off the heat and learn more about our fabulous local chefs.

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