James Beard Foundation culinary tour stops in Paradise Valley, Scottsdale

Featured chef’s in the Taste America tour are: from left standing: Country Velador, Dustin Christofolo, Beau MacMillan, Aaron Chamberlin, Branden Levine. From left seated are: Tammie Coe, Lori Hashimoto, Charles Wiley, Cassie Weisz and Nobuo Fukuda. (photo by Debby Wolvos Photography)

Some of the Valley of the Sun’s hottest chefs will be featured in the James Beard Foundation’s annual Taste American culinary tour, Sept. 21-23, including Paradise Valley’s own, Charles Wiley of Hearth ‘61 at Mountain Shadows.

The cross-country program will heat up this fall in 10 culinary destinations including Austin, Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle, according to a press release.

Phoenix’s weekend-long Taste American program will feature a welcome reception; a one-of-a-kind benefit dinner prepared by Taste America All-Star Traci Des Jardins and local star, Nobuo Fudua; and free in-store consumer events at Sur La Table – Scottsdale Fashion Square.

Phoenix’s three-day itinerary will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 21, at Fox Restaurant Concepts’ Little Cleo’s Seafood Legend at The Yard. Guests will meet and greet participating chefs while enjoying a cocktail and tasting, the press release stated.

Mountain Shadows resort in Paradise Valley will be hosting “A Night of Culinary Stars,” on Friday, Sept. 22, with an exclusive dining event benefiting the James Beard Foundation.

Mountain Shadows Executive Chef Charles Wiley. (submitted photo)

The evening will begin with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from local chefs and restaurateurs. Emcee for the evening will be CBS News Anchor Sean McLaughlin.

Afterwards, guests will be seated for a one-night-only dinner prepared by Chef Des Jardins, along with Chef Fukuda and host chef, Charles Wiley of Hearth ‘61 at Mountain Shadows. Concluding the evening will be a dessert reception with sweets from local pastry chefs Tammie Coe, Country Velador and Cassie Weisz.

The benefit dinner is co-chaired by Honorary Chair Bill Nassikas, president and COO of Westroc Hospitality, whose father, James Nassikas (owner of San Francisco’s Stanford Court Hotel), was a personal friend of James Beard, the press release stated.

Mountain Shadows has arranged for a special overnight package which includes complimentary drinks upon arrival, a special arrival amenity, an upgraded room type upon arrival (based on availability) and admittance to the dinner.

On Saturday, Sept. 23, free in-store consumer events will take place at Sur La Table located at Scottsdale Fashion Square, 7014 E. Camelback Road. Activities of the day will include cooking demonstrations by Chef Des Jardins and Chef Chris Bianco, book signings, tastings from local producers and artisans, as well as product demonstrations and tastings from our national sponsors.

For tickets visit https://www.jamesbeard.org/taste-america-phoenix.

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