Celebrities join Nirvana food, drink festival in Paradise Valley

Kurt Russell will be at Nirvana at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa. (submitted photo)

Just days before Nirvana returns to Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa, a number of celebrities have announced their involvement in the second annual Paradise Valley event.

Held April 19-22, the premiere food event is back for a second year of tastings, themed parties, fine dining and opportunities to get up close and personal with international celebrities from the world of food and wine.

Among the headliners are Sanctuary’s own Executive Chef Beau MacMillan, who will share the spotlight with star chef/television personalities Todd English, Chuck Hughes, Aarón Sánchez, Stephanie Izard, Scott Conant; master mixologists Jason Asher, Maxton Kennedy, and more.

Also playing a starring role will be Arizona’s spring weather and famous sunsets, with Sanctuary’s mountain perch offering the ideal vantage point, according to a press release.

“Scottsdale is an emerging hotbed for culinary expression, and Sanctuary is the ideal backdrop to bring together the nation’s top talent. We look forward to building on our community’s passion for fine food and drink during this second installment of Nirvana,” said Michael Surguine, Sanctuary’s vice president and managing director in a prepared statement.

Nirvana 2018 will bring back crowd favorites from last year – Flutes & Coops, Best of the West, the Master of Taste winemaker dinners and a Celebrity Golf Tournament. Three new events will make their festival debuts – Bourbon Street Blues, Rosé Parté, and Tequila & Tortillas.

New Orleans Jazz & Bourbon Brunch (submitted photo)

New on the Nirvana scene are The Bella Twins of WWE fame, stars of E! Network’s Total Bellas, and the inspiration behind Belle Radici wines. Nikki and Brie are slated to co-host Saturday afternoon’s Rosé Parté along with celebrity chef Todd English.

Rosé Parté pairs tastings of unique rosé wines from around with entertainment by Urban Electra, diamonds by Addison Taylor, a caviar bar, and treats by Arizona’s top pastry chefs. Tickets are $135 per person. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 22.

Kurt Russell has joined the all-star cast that will transform Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa into a food-lovers’ paradise April 19-22. The Hollywood star and Santa Ynez Valley vintner will bring his award-winning Gogi Wines to town Saturday, April 21, for an intimate wine dinner, Master of Taste C.

An all-star lineup of chefs, including Alex Stratta, Bradford Thompson, Ana Graza, Francois DeMelogue and Sanctuary’s own Beau McMillan, will prepare dishes inspired by Russell’s legendary films.

Hosted in an exclusive private home in Paradise Valley, the dinner is priced at $500 per person. Seats are limited, 7-10 p.m. Saturday, April 22.

Food Network personality Guy Fieri is now part of Thursday’s Bourbon Street Blues and Friday’s Flutes & Coops festivities. A limited number of tickets remain available for last-minute planners, the press release stated.

And festival-goers could see country crooner Clay Walker at any point – he’ll be at Nirvana throughout the weekend. Mr. Walker just released his new single, “Working on Me.”

Tickets to Nirvana are available at www.NirvanaFoodandWine.com. In addition to individual tickets, there are two value packages available: the Nirvana Passport ($444), offering a 20-percent savings for those who attend all events (excluding the celebrity golf tournament, Rosé Parté, and Master of Taste) and the Fiji Tastemaker ($256.50), which combines two main events, Bourbon Street and Tequila & Tortillas, at a 10-percent savings.

The 2018 line-up includes:

Guy Fieri

Bourbon Street Blues: 7-10 p.m. Thursday, April 19
Hosted by mixologist Jason Asher; presented by Bulleit Bourbon
Nirvana will kick off with a grand New Orleans-style festival, complete with a dazzling array of food and drinks. Live jazz will set a Mardi Gras mood featuring the Valley’s top mixologists. Guest are encouraged to dress in their best masquerade attire. Participating mixologists include Jason Asher, Brian Blevins, Maxton Kennedy, Bobby Kramer, Eric Wilson, and Libby Longlott. Chefs are Paul Boehmer, Audrey Enriquez, George Frasher, Brian Lieske, Beau MacMillan, Landon Post, and Lenard Rubin.

Master of Taste Dinner A: 7-10 p.m. Thursday, April 19
Hosted by chefs Matt Carter and Mark Stark; winemakers Rich Aurilia and Dan Kosta
The Master of Taste dinners are intimate culinary experiences pairing top chefs from the Scottsdale area and California’s Sonoma County with a notable winemaker. The first of two such evenings will showcase the fine vintages of Napa’s Red Stitch Wines with owner Rich Aurilia, a former San Francisco Giants shortstop, and his wine mentor Dan Kosta of Kosta Browne. This very special event will be hosted at one of Sanctuary’s private estate homes. Casa Seven’s dramatic glass wall affords dinner attendees a spectacular view of the valley below.

Flutes & Coops: 7:15 p.m. Friday, April 20
Hosted by chefs Stephanie Izard and Chuck Hughes, presented by Möet & Chandon and Woodford Reserve
Fried chicken and Champagne prove to be an inspired pairing as an all-star line-up of local chefs put their own spin on the southern specialty, complete with side dishes, bubbly and live music thanks to American country singer/songwriter D. Vincent Williams & the Nashville Allstars.

Master of Taste Dinner B: 7 p.m. Friday, April 20
Hosted by chefs Dustin Valette and Christopher Gross; winemaker Tuck Beckstoffer
Nirvana’s second winemaker evening puts the spotlight on pioneering Napa vintner Tuck Beckstoffer and his eponymous Tuck Beckstoffer Wines. This intimate dinner will be hosted at Casa Seven, one of Sanctuary’s glorious private estate homes.

Celebrity Golf Tournament: 8 a.m. Saturday, April 21 at Mountain Shadows
Golf enthusiasts can tee off their day on Mountain Shadows, one of Phoenix’s premiere courses, with Nirvana’s fun-filled celebrity tournament. Each foursome will be paired with a renowned chef (including Sanctuary’s own Beau MacMillan), star mixologist or notable sports figure, with plenty of food, beer, wine and spirits on hand to fuel an unforgettable round.

Rosé Parté: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 21
Hosted by chef Todd English
A refreshing alternative for those who prefer pink to golf course green, this new-to-Nirvana event will pair fine bites with fashionable rosé against a backdrop of spectacular desert views.

Best of the West: 7:15 p.m. Saturday, April 21
Hosted by chef Scott Conant (Mora Italian) and mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim
Nirvana’s closing night will bring together the best chefs in the West for a grand finale-worthy walk-around tasting that will take guests to indoor and outdoor settings throughout the resort. VIP attendees gain early access and extra time with the chefs, including Justin Beckett, Cullen Campbell, Ryan Clark, John Conley, Russell LaCasce, Branden Levine, Gio Osso, Jeremy Pacheco, James Porter, Joseph Rodger, Caleb Schiff, Matthew Taylor, and Chuck Wiley.

Tequila & Tortillas: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, April 22
Hosted by chef Aarón Sánchez and mixologist Maxton Kennedy
Because it’s always five o’clock somewhere, Nirvana’s Southwestern-style show-stopping farewell brunch promises tequila, tequila and more tequila. Festival-goers can shake off the sleep with palate-wakening Mexican specialties and live music to celebrate their final morning in paradise. Participating chefs: Rene Andrade, Jason Asher, Lee Hilson, Beau MacMillan, Aaron May, Julio Mata, Peter McQuaid, Doug Robson, Lenard Rubin, Samantha Sanz, Ana Garza and Suny Santana.

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