Arizona’s James Beard-winning chefs team up for benefit dinner
On Sept. 28, eight chefs known for their culinary ferocity will slice raw fish for sashimi, season lamb to roast and melt chocolate for a mousse tower in preparation for a meal like no other.
Theirs will be the first cooked by the collective talents of eight Arizona chefs who have won the James Beard Best Chef: Southwest award, or the culinary version of an Academy Award. The chefs – from pizza maestro Chris Bianco to Vincent Guerithault, the chef credited with upping Arizona’s image from that of cowboy steaks to Duck Tamale with Anaheim Chile and Raisins – recognize the dinner will make culinary history. Tucson’s Janos Wilder is the only chef from outside Metro Phoenix.
The toque power in one kitchen, on one night will be unprecedented.
The benefit dinner will be one of 20 held nationwide as part of the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America, a national food festival celebrating the culinary organization’s 20th anniversary. The exclusive Arizona dinner will take place at Restaurant REM, chef Robert McGrath’s newest establishment in Paradise Valley.
The chefs are:
• Chris Bianco Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix, 2003 recipient.
• Nobuo Fukuda Sea Saw, Scottsdale, 2007 recipient.
• Christopher Gross Christopher’s Fermier Brasserie, 1995 recipient.
• Vincent Guerithault Vincent on Camelback, 1993 recipient.
• RoxSand Scocos McCreary formerly of RoxSand Restaurant, 1999 recipient.
• Robert McGrath Restaurant REM, formerly of Roaring Fork-Paradise Valley, 2001 recipient.
• Bradford Thompson formerly of Mary Elaine’s at the Phoenician, 2006 recipient.
• Janos Wilder Janos and J Bar, Tucson, 2000 recipient.
The only no-show from the state’s star-studded Beard class is Alex Stratta, who won in 1998 while at Mary Elaine’s and now heads his namesake Alex restaurant at the Wynn Las Vegas. His wife is expecting their child anytime, so he declined.
Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the New York-based James Beard Foundation and the Arizona program of Careers Through Culinary Arts Program.
IF YOU GO
What: Silent auction and benefit dinner created by eight James Beard-winning chefs as part of the national food festival Taste America.
When: Auction begins at 7 p.m., dinner at 8 p.m. Sept. 28.
Where: Restaurant REM, 7101 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley
Cost: $250 a person
Details: To purchase, call Robyn Lee at (480) 951-2950 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
MORE ON THE CHEFSRead profiles of the chefs at The Arizona Republic’s Web site.
MEET THE CHEF
More Metro Tucson chef profiles and recipes at the links on the bottom right of our home page.
By Karen Fernau, Mary Beth Fallner