Address and phone: 245 E. Ina Road, 297-1151
Meet James Wallace, executive chef at Westward Look Resort, home of the AAA Four-Diamond Gold Room and the Lookout Bar & Grille.
A native of Oregon, Wallace trained at Horst Mager Culinary Institute in Portland (now Western Culinary Institute) and spent the next two decades at resorts and restaurants across the globe.
He worked at several RockResorts properties in the Caribbean; Mauna Kea Beach in Hawaii; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; and the Grand Teton Lodge near Jackson Hole, Wyo., where he was executive chef.
Wallace was also restaurant chef at Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn., and was executive sous chef at both the Salishan Lodge in Oregon and the Hotel Del Coronado in Coronado, Calif.
Most recently, he crafted menus at the Santa Clara Convention Center before taking the helm at Westward Look in November.
Question: What’s your favorite restaurant in Tucson?
Answer: I like Wildflower. They do the kind of things I like.
What’s your favorite dish to prepare and why?
My favorite today is our Pancetta Wrapped Scallops with Radiatore Pasta over Blue Moon Ale Sauce.
What’s your favorite dish to eat?
I go through phases, and the one I’m in now comes from staring at our stock of dry aged New York steaks. It’s such a beautiful product, and the flavor is unbelievable.
What’s unique about the Tucson restaurant scene compared to other cities?
I think the accessibility to a large volume of very nice restaurants here is what surprises me, compared to most cities where the restaurants aren’t nearly as accessible. There are so many nice restaurants that are just right off the road, in strip malls, if you will.
What’s your favorite or most used gadget or kitchen utensil?
I’m pretty basic, so it would probably be a wooden spoon, a whisk and kitchen shears. We have an herb garden right outside the kitchen door, so I’m always using the shears.
What do you always have in your refrigerator?
I always have to have some red or white wine to make a sauce.
Why are you a chef?
I just really like to cook. I like the game we play. The clients come in and we may or may not ever see them, but just knowing that people come and leave very satisfied makes me very proud.