2018 AZ Central Wine & Food experience welcomes Marcus Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez

Over 60 Arizona restaurants and their chefs return November 3rd & 4th for the 4th annual AZ Central Wine & Food Experience. The 2018 experience moves up the road to Monterra at Westworld and includes celebrity chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez.

Marcus Samuelsson
All photos courtesy of FleurCom Group

The Martha Stewart Experience returns

AZWFE welcomes back The Martha Stewart Experience with a Celebrating with Martha theme for guests to get creative just in time for the holidays. You’ll be able to check out Martha’s newest line of kitchen gear and utensils from Macy’s and QVC.

New to this years event is the The Grateful House where guests can make their own salsa and wine charms. Their will be Master Demo lead by a Grateful Influencer to 40 people on a first come first serve basis.

Join Marcus Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez

On Saturday award-winning chef Marcus Samuelesson will join the festivities along with local chefs. Sunday welcomes chef and Food Network judge Aaron Sanchez who will mix and mingle with guest and more local chefs.

Chefs from across the valley including Juan Zamora of Chula Seafood, Jennifer Russo of The Market by Jennifer Restaurant and Bar and MATCH Restaurant and Lounge chef Alex Stratta will prepare tastes of food.

Get your tickets

Tickets for the two day event are available at their website.

  • Grand Tasting.  $65 limited time offer in advance. Sample delicious bites from Arizona’s most coveted dining establishments. Meet chefs, taste their creations; see cooking demonstrations.  Plus enjoy fine wine, craft beer and distinctive spirits sampling. GT entry at 1pm Sat. and Sun.
  • VIP Grand Tasting. $120 in advance.  For guests who seek all the benefits of the Grand Tasting, they’ll also enjoy private tastings from wineries and distillers, early entry, a VIP Lounge and VIP restrooms. VIP Entry at noon.
  • Chef’s Package Experience with Marcus Samulesson & Aarón Sánchez.  $180 in advance. Enjoy all the benefits of the VIP Grand Tasting, PLUS private meet and greet and book-signing with Marcus Samuelsson Nov. 3 & Aarón Sánchez Nov. 4 [Advance purchase recommended. Tickets subject to sellout.] Chef’s Package begins at 11:30am. Subscribers are eligible for $15 off tickets, available only through azcentral.com/insider.

 

Updated: Sunday Supper Dinner Series at MATCH in October and November

Updated with December dates and menu

When I announced last month that chef Alex Stratta had taken the reins at MATCH: Restaurant & Cocktails we knew it wouldn’t be long before he started putting his own twist on food coming out of the kitchen. After making menu changes earlier this month he’s now set to start the popular Sunday Supper Dinner Series this Sunday October 1st.

Each of the 8 dinners will have a theme from around the country and world with the menus created specifically for the weeks dinner. The Sunday Supper will be served family style and will cost $24 plus tax & gratuity per person and starts at 6 p.m.

Sunday Supper weekly menus

At least 4 dishes including appetizer style plates  followed by an entrée, side dishes and dessert will be served.

Here is the menu for all 8 weeks Sunday Supper…..

Oct. 1                                                                                                                                    PAELLA AND TAPAS                                                                                                          Gazpacho Andalusiano con aceitunas                                                      Patatas Bravas                                                                                                                Pan con tomate y Manchego                                                                             Paella Valenciana

Oct. 8                                                                                                                                            INDOOR PICNIC                                                                                                                   Deviled eggs                                                                                                                             Watermelon and cucumber salad                                                                                Cole slaw                                                                                                                                     Wood roasted Elote with Cotija cheese                                                                   Buttermilk fried chicken                                                                                                    Banana splits

Oct. 15                                                                                                                                   BACK EAST SUNDAY GRAVY                                                                                 Clams casino                                                                                                                 Chopped salad                                                                                                            Spaghetti and meatballs                                                                                                    Garlic bread                                                                                                                              Cannoli with ricotta

Oct. 29                                                                                                                                         SPICY SUNDAY                                                                                                          Fried Jalapenos with cotija and bacon                                                       Adobo chicken tostada salad with mixed pepper slaw                      Green chili pork with Habanero toreados                                                  Spicy beef enchiladas                                                                                                          Mexican Rice and charro beans                                                                                    Arroz con leche

Nov. 5                                                                                                                                     FISH FRY                                                                                                                           New England clam chowder                                                                                            Caesar Salad                                                                                                                 Fried Ling Cod in dark ale batter                                                                      Fried potatoes with malt vinegar aioli                                                                       Boston cream pie

Nov. 12                                                                                                                               BBQ AND CORNBREAD                                                                                   Crispy Caribbean chicken wings                                                                        BBQ brisket and pork ribs                                                                                      Cole slaw and potato salad                                                                            Cherry-jalapeno cornbread with honey butter                                     Maple pecan tart with Bourbon sauce

Nov. 19                                                                                                                              PAELLA AND TAPAS                                                                                                          Gazpacho Andalusiano con aceitunas                                                                       Patatas Bravas                                                                                                                         Pan con tomate y Manchego                                                                                           Paella Valenciana

Nov. 26                                                                                                                                         INDOOR PICNIC                                                                                                                   Deviled eggs                                                                                                                             Watermelon and cucumber salad                                                                                Cole slaw                                                                                                                                     Wood roasted Elote with Cotija cheese                                                                   Buttermilk fried chicken                                                                                                    Banana splits

Sunday, December 3rd, 2017                                                                           BACK EAST’ SUNDAY GRAVY                                                                        Clams casino                                                                                                        Chopped salad                                                                                                   Spaghetti and meatballs                                                                                                    Garlic bread                                                                                                                              Cannoli with ricotta

Sunday, December 10th, 2017                                                                                      SPICY SUNDAY                                                                                                          Fried Jalapenos with cotija and bacon                                                       Adobo chicken tostada salad with mixed pepper slaw                      Green chili pork with Habanero toreados                                                  Spicy beef enchiladas                                                                                                          Mexican Rice and charro beans                                                                                    Arroz con leche

Sunday, December 17th, 2017                                                                            FISH FRY                                                                                                                          New England clam chowder                                                                                            Caesar’s salad                                                                                                                          Fried Ling Cod in dark ale batter                                                                                  Fried potatoes with malt vinegar aioli                                                                       Boston cream pie

MATCH is inside the Found:Re Hotel at 1100 N. Central Avenue in downtown Phoenix.

 

Alex Stratta takes over the kitchen at MATCH: Restaurant & Cocktails

It was less than a year ago that I reported that James Beard Award winning chef Alex Stratta took over culinary operations at The Herb Box , well that short-lived stint has come to an end. Chef Stratta has taken his culinary talents to MATCH:Restaurant & Cocktails in The Found:Re Hotel in Phoenix.

New menu debut

The first change will take place in September when chef Stratta will debut a new menu for the wood-fired and local focused restaurant. “We are testing new recipes and seeking the perfect balance of flavor and relatable dishes that suit the tastes of our local residents and out-of-town guests,” said Stratta. “The wood fired oven and grill will continue to take center stage as we evolve our menu.”

He and his team will continue to focus on simple, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients that will be presented in an artful style to coincide with the hotels art inspired decor and design.

The Alex Stratta culinary history

The globe-trotting chef has collected awards for his Las Vegas restaurants Stratta & ALEX and his first stint in Phoenix at Mary Elaine’s at The Phoenician Resort. He’s also worked for famed chefs Alain Ducasse in Monaco at Louis XV in The Hotel de Paris and Daniel Boulud in New York at Le Cirque. He’s also made the finals on Top Chef Masters, Italian Iron Chef and Iron Chef America. In addition to his James Beard “Best Southwest Chef” award he’s been named a Food & Wine Best New Chef, several AAA Five Diamond awards and a two star rating from the Michelin Guide for ALEX.

MATCH is at 1100 N. Central Ave. in downtown Phoenix https://www.matchphx.com/

 

James Beard winner Alex Stratta joins The Herb Box

James Beard award winner and Michelin starred chef Alex Stratta brought smiles to the faces of foodies around the Phoenix area earlier this year when he announced he was returning to Phoenix after spending several years strutting his stuff in Las Vegas. The corporate job that brought him back didn’t work out the way he had planned and was short-lived. Fortunately it was culinary gold for The Herb Box who hired Stratta as Director of Culinary.

Stratta will oversee all 3 locations (Southbridge & DC Ranch in Scottsdale and The Colony in central Phoenix) menus as well as their grab and go market and catering operations. His first order of business was to roll out a new Fall dinner menu. The menus will continue to be unique and use seasonal & local ingredients with vegetables playing a major part. The dinner menu rolled out in late October and a Fall lunch menu is planned for an early November roll out.

The Herb Box owner Susan Wilcox wasn’t looking to hire for a new position but she knew of Stratta’s reputation and with the help of mutual friends the 2 were connected, Wilcox says “Alex and I had a meeting of the minds. Our passions and vision for the growth of the company perfectly aligned.”

Stratta will also focus on the kitchen’s business operations which is one of his strengths. This will include developing and training the back of the house, refine procedures, ensure menu consistency in all with all 3 locations and expand catering and the grab and go market which will maximize the long-term growth of the restaurants. While no new restaurants are planned, Wilcox is open to expansion if the right location and opportunity become available around the valley or outside of Arizona. According to Stratta, “I’m bringing the same intensity and same heart from the fine dining arena to The Herb Box.” http://www.theherbbox.com/