A little friendly competition is always good to keep us on our toes and even more so in the Phoenix restaurant community as we find ways to make the summer go by quicker. Jade Bar at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa will host a friendly Bar Brawl for 8 local bartenders to show off what they do best….make delicious cocktails.
Every Sunday at 8 p.m. from July 16th – August 6th two bartenders will go head to head to see who will advance to the Semi-Finals on August 13th & 20th with the two winners advancing to the Championship on August 27th where the new “Bar Brawl Champion’ will be crowned.
Each weeks head to head competition will use specific spirits and ingredients for cocktails that will be judged by a panel of local judges.
Eddie Aces, Jade Bar’s Head Mixologist will emcee the event each week with locals and resort guest invited to cheer on the bartenders while DJ Hybrid will be providing entertainment. A special menu of “Bar Brawl Bites” will be available for purchase for happy hour prices during each weeks competition. There is no cost to attend the Bar Brawl.
The Bar Brawl Champion will be awarded a fun-filled trip to Austin City Limits. Previous winners have included Kyle Mason of Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia and Keifer Gilbert of Crudo and Counter Intuitive.
When we hear the word “Nirvana” we automatically think of the “grunge rock” band of the 1990’s. Definitions of the word slightly vary but many consider it the “ultimate state of happiness” which is what the culinary and marketing team at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa are hoping for as they were brainstorming for a name of their new culinary festival.
An exciting 4 days is planned from April 27th- 30th as festival goers will be able to mix & mingle with celebrity chefs Todd English, Robert Irvine and Sanctuary’s own Beau MacMillan as they team up with other visiting chefs and Phoenix area chefs, wine makers and mixologists for themed dinners, tastings and a golf tournament.
With our beautiful weather and sunsets you may want to turn the festival into a vacation and stay at Sanctuary in one of their suites, casitas or a private home. A 2 night minimum is required and rooms start $479 per night plus tax & resort fee.
Tickets for the festival can be purchased at http://www.nirvanafoodandwine.com/ with the schedule of events below. Part of the proceeds from the festival will benefit HopeKids, an organization that provides events and support for families with a child who has cancer or other life threatening diseases.
Hosted by celebrity chef and television personality Robert Irvine and local celebrity mixologist Jason Asher, owner of Counter Intuitive and Undertow
Thursday, April 27, 7-10 p.m.; Infinity Pool and Lawn; $125 per person
Torch will kick-off the festival with a poolside Polynesian fantasy. Mixologists will compete at eight stations, as guests rub shoulders with an esteemed panel of judges to select winners of the Judge’s Choice and People’s Choice awards.
Birds and Bubbles
Hosted by chef, restaurateur, author and television personality Todd English
Friday, April 28, 7-10 p.m.; The Views Ballroom, Lawn; $135 per person, $225 VIP
Fried chicken and Champagne come together in an inspired pairing as guest chefs put their own spin on the southern specialty, complete with side dishes and bubbly. The all-star local line-up includes Stephen Jones (The Larder + The Delta and Homeboy’s Hotsauce), Cullen Campbell (Crudo and Okra), Justin Beckett (Southern Rail), Jeremy Pacheco (LON’s at The Hermosa Inn), Gio Osso (Virtù at The Bespoke Inn) and Beau MacMillan. They will be joined by visiting chefs from Palm Beach, Fla.: Clay Conley (Buccan and Grato) and Lindsay Autry (The Regional Kitchen & Public House). Festival-goers who book VIP admission enjoy personal time for 45 minutes with their favorite chefs.
American country singer/songwriter D. Vincent Williams & the Nashville Allstars, whose “Just Got Started Lovin’ You,” sung by Otto James, topped the country charts in 2008, will provide live entertainment throughout the evening. His songs have also been recorded by major artists like Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, Ricky Skaggs, and Rascal Flatts (“I’m Movin’ On”).
Master of Taste honoring Chuck Wagner
Friday, April 28, 7-10 p.m.; Casa Seven; $350 per person; limited availability
Chuck Wagner, owner and winemaker of Caymus Vineyards, and scion of the legendary Napa Valley vintner family, will be the guest of honor at an intimate dinner at one of Sanctuary’s elegant private estate homes. The evening will showcase the exceptional vintages of the Wagner Family of Wine and three generations of winemaking talent. Preparing the feast will be local chefs Christopher Gross (Christopher’s and Crush), Matt Carter (Fat Ox and The Mission), Mark Tarbell (Tarbell’s and Tarbell’s Tavern), and Beau MacMillan.
Saturday, April 29, 10:30 a.m. registration and 12 noon tee; Mountain Shadows; $400 per player
Each foursome will be paired with a renowned chef, star mixologist or notable sports figure at this fun-filled celebrity golf tournament being played at the long-awaited Mountain Shadows course at the base of Camelback Mountain. Plenty of food, beer and spirits will round out an unforgettable day on the links.
Best of the West
Hosted by chef/restauranteur (Mora Italian) and Chopped judge Scott Conant
Saturday, April 29, 7-10 p.m.; Praying Monk and elements restaurant; $145 per person, $225 VIP
Sanctuary’s signature restaurant, elements, and its indoor/outdoor Praying Monk venue will be the setting for Nirvana’s final evening event. More than a dozen elegant restaurant stations will be manned by celebrated chefs from throughout the West, including James Porter (Terra Farm + Manor), Samantha Sanz (Talavera at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale Troon North), Sean Currid (Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails) and Beau MacMillan. VIP attendees gain early access and extra time with the chefs.
New Orleans Jazz & Bourbon Brunch
Sunday, April 30, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; elements; $85 per person
Nirvana will come to a rousing finale with a N’Awlins-style jazz brunch complete with live music and a Bourbon twist, serving up everything from étouffée to feather-light beignets at this fun sit-down event.
A lot has been going on the last few years at the corner of 56th St & Lincoln Dr. in Paradise Valley as the old Mountain Shadows resort makes way for the new & modern Mountain Shadows resort. Phoenix area foodies have been anxiously awaiting what popular chef Charles Wiley will be doing with the resorts signature restaurant. We now know he will be opening Hearth ’61 in early March.
The seasonal ingredient driven restaurants name Hearth ’61 pays tribute to 1961, the year Paradise Valley was incorporated and a “Hearth” being a centerpiece of the resort and the Paradise Valley community.
Chef Wiley will be using his friendships he’s built over the years at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain and at Hotel Valley Ho’s Zuzu with farmers and other local purveyors to fuel his menu that will marry rich flavors with traditional cooking styles and techniques on the evolving menu. The restaurant will be open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A few of the dishes from the menu are…..
Floor to ceiling windows to view the surrounding Camelback & Mummy Mountains and desert, a sunken living room lounge, open kitchen and above ground wine cellar surrounded by glass are just a few of the design and decor features that honor a time from the past along with modern ambience.
“It is truly an honor to be a part of this iconic project, the rebirth of Mountain Shadows,” said Wiley. “We will rely on all the relationships we’ve cultivated over the years with local farmers and artisans to craft a rustic yet vibrant cuisine. The culinary team we’ve assembled is nothing less than extraordinary, and we’re excited to present menus featuring a perfect balance of innovation and tradition”.
The inventive menu of chef Wiley’s at Hearth ’61 will be complimented by an ingredient driven cocktail program that features 2 original cocktails, The 5 C’s referring to Arizona’s cotton, copper, cattle , citrus and climate industries which will feature locally distilled Commerce Gin, grapefruit & lemon juice and muddled basil leafs. The Forty-Rod which uses High West whiskey, corn milk, lime juice, ginger – cayenne syrup and garnished with a corn husk is inspired by the strong whiskey drinks of the old west.
Scottsdale’s iconic Hotel Valley Ho recently has made a change in its culinary operations and has named Russell LaCasce as executive chef effective January 2nd, 2017. LaCasce comes from Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa where he was the executive sous chef where he worked closely with executive chef Beau Macmillan since 2010.
LaCasce found his passion for food and cooking 20 years ago while working in Charleston, South Carolina before moving to Park City, Utah to learn the service side of the restaurant industry.
After moving to Scottsdale in 2006 he attended the Arizona Culinary Institute and went to work at T. Cook’s at The Royal Palms Resort before heading to the other side of Camelback Mountain to Sanctuary on Camelback. While at T.Cook’s he worked with executive chef Lee Hillson and rose the p.m. sous chef position.
At Hotel Valley Ho LaCasce will oversee all aspects of the hotels culinary operations including the hotel’s restaurant Zuzu, in-room dining, catering and banquets.
“We are delighted to have Russell as our new executive chef. His reputation for delivering creative and flavorful cuisine coupled with his ability to lead his culinary colleagues made him the perfect fit for this key position. We are very much looking forward to seeing how he influences ZuZu and all of our culinary operations,” said Ronen Aviram, the hotel’s general manager.
LaCasce replaces executive chef Charles Wiley who has moved to the soon to open Mountain Shadows Resort in Paradise Valley where he will be the executive chef. Wiley will continue to be director of food and beverage for Westroc Hospitality which has developed and manages Hotel Valley Ho, Sanctuary on Camelback and Mountain Shadows.