What makes the perfect meal? A room full of award-winning chefs, wine makers, good conversation, and a fantastic view.
You’ll experience all of this and more at the popular Lunch & Learn series hosted by the luxurious Sanctuary Resort on Camelback Mountain.
Marking their 10th summer, these events bring together top culinary masters for an afternoon or evening of cooking, conversation and camaraderie. Much of the credit goes to Executive Chef Beau MacMillan of the Sanctuary Resort where he brings together star chefs and guests who delight in a three-course lunch (or dinner) paired with wine or cocktails, a lesson on how to prepare the culinary specialties, and recipes to take home.
The most recent event featured the “Battle of the Chefs” where Chef MacMillan and Tram Mai of Channel 12 hosted a competition between two of Michael Turcotte’s East Valley Institute of Technology’s (EVIT) culinary students. Their dishes were judged by long-time Phoenix chefs, Eddie Matney of Eddie’s House and Michael DeMaria of Heirloom and M Culinary Concepts.
Notable chefs from outside of Phoenix are part of the series as well with Geoffrey Zakarian of Food Network’s Iron Chef America and the guest chef for the Obamas’ first state dinner, Marcus Samuelsson who owns Red Rooster in New York’s Harlem to name a few.
For the most discerning of culinary tastes, the Sanctuary’s Lunch & Learn is considered a foodies dream come true. And for many Valley hotels and restaurants spotlighting their award-winning chefs and restaurants it’s paying off.
“I would say that 20 percent of our guests are interested in the entertainment factor, many take notes and are eager to learn new techniques while most see the wine pairings as an added educational value,” said Chef MacMillan. “The popularity of these events is definitely on the rise.”
Karen of Arcadia agrees, “In the presence of these culinary masters you can’t help but feel a bit star struck. I’ve been a regular for years and each experience is more impressive than the last.”
But what really draws the crowd’s attention is the roster of local celebrity chefs like Vincent Guerithault of Vincent on Camelback and Kevin Binkley of Binkley’s in Cave Creek that along with Chefs Matney and DeMaria have put Phoenix on the culinary map.
According to Michael DeMaria, whose highly acclaimed Michael’s at the Citadel received the AAA 4-Diamond award, “The chefs that started out working for me now own their own places here. Phoenicians need to recognize this and support local chefs.”
Eddie Matney, known as “the most colorful chef” in Phoenix sums it up this way, “Phoenix was known for TexMex, but we’re far from that today. Arizona chefs have a lot more heart and passion for what they do. I’d rate our chefs against the best in New York anytime. Bring it on!”
Sanctuary Resort on Camelback Mountain
Lunch & Learn Series
5700 E. McDonald Drive, Scottsdale
Remaining dates: August 13 (dinner), 20 and 27
Noon – 2:30 pm (or 6-10 pm)
$75 for lunch and $125/person for dinner – includes tax and gratuity
To make reservations call 480-607-2300.
Lunch & Learn participants also receive a discount rate of $169/night in a Mountain Casita at the Sanctuary.