The Culinary Evolution Continues at Mountain Shadows

The Place: Mountain Shadows
The Location: 5445 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley
By: Shoshana Leon

Mountain Shadows has been a Paradise Valley icon since the 1960s. In 2017 the resort reopened with a sleek new look and a culinary program focused on fresh seasonal ingredients, led by renowned Chef Charles Wiley. Mountain Shadows’ culinary program continues to flourish with new talent and exceptional events showcasing its cuisine and libations.

A New Executive Sous Chef
In July, Mountain Shadows named Richard Garcia as Executive Sous Chef under Chef Wiley. The two worked together at Scottsdale’s Hotel Valley Ho in 2005.

“Nothing makes me happier than working with Chef Wiley again,” says Garcia. “He helped me become a better chef by instilling a sense of discipline, professionalism, organization and the art of making beautiful food.”

As executive sous chef, Chef Garcia is responsible for ensuring that culinary operations at the resort are running according to standards, including Hearth’ 61, the resort’s signature restaurant offering seasonal American fare and breathtaking mountain views.

“Being executive sous chef at Hearth’ 61 is a true honor and I am very lucky to have such a talented Chef de Cuisine like Alfred Muro,” says Garcia. “What I love about this role is working with young, talented cooks and the opportunity to teach them things that have been passed down to me by talented chefs that I have worked for.”

Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Chef Garcia spent much of his life in Santa Fe. Growing up he had the opportunity to meet chefs from the area’s best restaurants while making dairy deliveries with his grandfather.

His first culinary job in 1998 was at the Coyote Café, one of Santa Fe’s most famous restaurants. In 2005, he helped Chef Wiley reopen Hotel Valley Ho. In 2006, he graduated from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute and held a few chef positions before returning to Hotel Valley Ho. He joined Mountain Shadows in November 2017 as banquet chef.

“My culinary style is simple,” he says. “Use ingredients that are in season and integrate simple yet bold flavors. Our kitchens at Mountain Shadows focus on incredibly delicious food done with a certain touch of elegance. I think using incredible produce that is in its prime and in season is key to putting out a great dish.”

Chef Garcia is enthusiastic about the future of Hearth ’61. “Chef Muro and I have high expectations for the culinary program at Hearth ’61 and will not stop progressing until we reach our goals. I’m very excited to work on new menus and push forward certain aspects of the restaurant that will help set our hotel apart from others.”

Exceptional Culinary Events
Mountain Shadows hosts a number of events that bring people together to enjoy food and drink. Chef Wiley hosts a monthly Sunday Supper Club where the culinary team works with local suppliers and wineries from across the country to create a four-course menu for $74 per person. Upcoming Sunday Supper pairings include K Vintners on September 16, Revelry Vintners on October 21 and Van Duzer Vineyards on November 18.

Hearth ’61 is hosting a series of Spirited Sipping Seminars, where guests can taste and learn about wine, beer and spirits from experts at a cost of $30 per person. Upcoming seminars include IPAs on September 22, bourbon cocktails on October 6 and Thanksgiving wines on November 17.

Hearth ’61 will be participating in Arizona Restaurant Week from September 21-30. The three-course menu for $44 includes a choice of prawns and polenta, beet salad or pork croquette as a starter; beef tenderloin with smoked sweet potato mash, sweet corn agnolotti or salmon with mushroom gremolata as an entrée; and a choice of warm flourless chocolate cake, chocolate peanut butter crunch bar or peach and sundried cranberry bread pudding for dessert.

On September 28, Mountain Shadows will host the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America dinner which will feature dishes from some of the Valley’s moist celebrated chefs and raise money for scholarships for culinary students.

Since it reopened, Mountain Shadows has made a strong culinary impact with its talented staff, focus on fresh ingredients and events that bring the community together. With Chef Garcia in his new role and the evolution of its cuisine, great and delicious things are expected for the future of Mountain Shadows.

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