Chef and new culinary director at the Hyatt Phoenix Brandon Drummond is no stranger to hotel life having worked for Hyatt Hotels around the country for the past 15 years. He come from the Hyatt in Greenwich, Connecticut to run the culinary team at Compass Lounge & Restaurant, Arizona’s only revolving rooftop restaurant.
The downtown hotel is finishing a multi-million dollar facelift and they’ve hired Drummond to re-vamp the menu at their signature restaurant. He brings his experience working in culinary management in the Hyatt family in Washington D.C., Bonita Springs Fla., New Orleans and San Antonio to his new role.
Both the lounge and restaurant will see new dishes including fresh seafood and regional ingredients. In the lounge guest will have the chance to order Buttermilk Fried Quail, a Charcuterie Board and more. The new menu includes Quick Cured Duck and Elk Chops in addition to other new dishes and longtime favorites.
New cocktails include the Strawberry Blonde made with Meyer lemon vodka, house made simple syrup and strawberries. The Bramble Rose mixes Maker’s Mark bourbon with house made rosemary simple syrup and blueberries.
Meet Chef Drummond when he participates in Plated and Staged at the Herberger Theater on Sunday March 29th. The annual fundraiser benefits for the theatre’s youth outreach program. The program exposes youths to culinary programs and the performing arts.
The Compass Lounge & Restaurant the Hyatt Phoenix is at 122 N. 2nd St. Phoenix 85004. Visit their website for more information.
Correction: Richard was promoted to Executive Sous Chef of the resort, not Hearth ’61.
In less than a year at Mountain Shadows Resort, Banquet Chef Richard Garcia has been promoted to Executive Sous Chef at the Paradise Valley resort’s signature restaurant Hearth ’61. Garcia will be working under the guidance of Executive Chef Charles Wiley. This isn’t the first time the duo have worked together as they helped re-open Hotel Valley Ho in 2005.
New Mexico born Garcia spent time in Santa Fe where he found his love for food and cooking from local chefs. In 1998 he worked at Mark Miller’s Coyote Cafe learning how to cook southwestern cuisine before attending Scottsdale Culinary Institute. After earning an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts he returned to Santa Fe to work at the El Dorado Hotel.
Garcia returned to Scottsdale’s Avalon in his first sous chef position before heading to Trader Vic’s as sous chef. He joined Hotel Valley Ho’s Zuzu as their first chef de cuisine before being promoted to executive sous chef.
He was re-united with Wiley in late 2017 when he accepted a position at Mountain Shadows as banquet chef.
Wiley is thrilled to have him at Hearth ’61 as he brings his innovative cooking style using simple ingredients to the menu.
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.
Chefs move from one restaurant to another like athletes get traded or sign with a new team. Scottsdale’s SumoMaya has announced that they have brought on a new chef to run their team in the kitchen. Roberto Madrid comes to SumoMaya from Deseo Restaurant at The Westin Kierland Resort in north Scottsdale.
One of the first tasks chef Madrid will be overseeing is the new weekend “Bottomless Brunch” the restaurant has begun serving on Saturdays and Sundays. As the popularity of leisurely brunching has become on weekends, SumoMaya’s $39 brunch includes Bottomless Margaritas, Mimosas, Bloody Mary’s and Michaelidas along with a few of rounds of foods. For those who chose not to indulge with cocktails brunch is $29.
While sipping on your cocktails guests can then choose from a family style menu for the “First Round” that includes Smoked Salmon Lox, Sweet Mexican Pastries, fresh fruit & granola and more.
On to the “Second Round” where options include….assorted sushi rolls selected by chef Madrid, SumoMaya’s popular Guacamole w/ Pomegranate or Ribeye with tostatdas, Huevos Revueltos Al Abanil with scrambled eggs or Bread Migas + Chorizo.
Diners then choose an entree from the creative menu that includes Sweet Potato Waffles with sliced bananas, Waygu Steak + Eggs with corn arepa, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce or Market Vegetable Scramble with crispy quinoa amongst others. Popular weekday menu items such as Kimchee + Egg Fried Rice with mushroom and Korean chili aioli, Enchiladas Suiza, Pork “Al Pastor” Pad Thai will be available.
Make sure you save room for dessert(easier said than done, I know) as the unique Liquid Cheesecake Brulee or Bunelos, those delicious cinnamon donuts sweetened with condensed milk and dulce de leche are served family style.
Both early riser and those who like to sleep in on weekends can take advantage of brunch as SumoMaya serves from 9a.m. – 3p.m. on weekends.
SumoMaya is at 6560 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85250.
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.
Market Street kitchen made a big splash this week they announced the hiring of executive chef Michael Hunn bringing him back to the valley from his stint in Las Vegas working for chef Brian Massie and his MGM Grand restaurants. Hunn will oversee the Contemporary American rustic fare served at Market Street Kitchen including wood smoked meats, salads, fresh seafood and more. Hunn had been in Phoenix briefly working at Bloom Restaurant for Sam Fox and Roy’s at Marriott’s Desert Ridge before Vegas and has previously worked in Chicago at restaurants Weber Grill, The Four Seasons Chicago and Japonais.
Hunn learned about cooking and the food service industry at an early age growing up in Chicago, learning to cook from his Italian grandmother and the business part of it from his father who worked for Kraft & Oscar Meyer. He is classically trained in French & Italian cuisine and in the kitchen has the discipline found in a Japanese kitchen.
Hunn’s menu will be based on what’s available in the market at any given time with an emphasis on Rotisserie cooking. He loves regional American comfort food and chatting with his fishmonger, meat dude, farmers and other vendors from where he gets his ingredients.
Market Street Kitchen is open for Lunch: Monday – Friday 11 am – 3 pm; Dinner: Sunday – Thursday 5 – 9 pm Friday & Saturday 5 – 10 pm; and Brunch: Saturday & Sunday 10 am – 3 pm.
Market Street at DC Ranch 20775 N. Pima Road Scottsdale, AZ 85255 480-278-7044 www.marketstreetkitchen.com