Scottsdale culinary Festival
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Chef Wine Dinners
This unique event allows you the choice of an intimate dinning experience at one of seven top Valley restaurants. Enjoy a four-course meal prepared by award-winning chefs, each course being expertly paired with rich vintage wines (see pairings below). If you are looking for a VIP dining experience, this is the event for you.
 
This unique event allows you the choice of an intimate dinning experience at one of seven top Valley restaurants. Enjoy a four-course meal prepared by award-winning chefs, each course being expertly paired with rich vintage wines (see pairings below). If you are looking for a VIP dining experience, this is the event for you.
 
Event Details
Date & Time: Saturday, April 9, 2011 at 6:30pm
Location: Various Restaurants
Attire: Cocktail
Tickets: $125 per person
  All events, prices, personalities, performances, venues, dates and times subject to change without notice. No refunds or exchanges. No one under 21 will be admitted.
Date & Time: Saturday, April 9, 2011 at 6:30pm
Location: Various Restaurants
Attire: Cocktail
Tickets: $125 per person
  All events, prices, personalities, performances, venues, dates and times subject to change without notice. No refunds or exchanges. No one under 21 will be admitted.

Event Pairings
RestaurantChefWinery  
Bistro 24 at the Ritz Carlton Richard Dupere Destino Menu
Il Terrazzo at The Phoenician Kyle Lipetzky Tres Sabores Menu
Orange Sky at Talking Stick Resort Ron Dimas Trefethen Family Vineyards Menu
Renegade Canteen Robert McGrath Stronghold Vineyards Menu
T. Cook's at the Royal Palms Lee Hillson Woodenhead Wine Sold Out
Talavera at the Four Seasons Mel Mecinas Jessup Cellars Menu Sold Out
Trader Vic's at Hotel Valley Ho Justin Pfeilsticker Benovia Winery Menu

Participating Chefs


Ron Dimas
Executive Chef
Ron Dimas

Executive Chef
Orange Sky at Talking Stick

Festival Event(s):
  • Chef Wine Dinners

  • Chef Ron Dimas brings more than 20 years experience, crafting inspired creations at some of the best local resorts and restaurants, to his latest role as Chef de Cuisine of Orange Sky Restaurant at Talking Stick Resort. A native of Phoenix, Dimas planned a career in broadcasting at Arizona State University. To earn college tuition, he took an entry-level prep cook position at The Buttes Resort's Top of the Rock Restaurant in 1986. Although he hadn’t thought about a culinary career, Dimas found himself captivated by the magnanimous commitment required of culinary teams to transform basic ingredients into refined works of art.   With no formal culinary education, Dimas worked his way up through a variety of kitchens, eagerly learning as much as possible about all disciplines of the culinary arts.

    It was an opportunity at The Boulders Resort that set him on a course to becoming a foremost chef.  There Dimas' cooking flourished under the expert tutelage of Charles Wiley, a highly acclaimed award-wining chef.  Working his way through the ranks from cook, to restaurant chef, and ultimately to Executive Sous Chef, he refined his techniques toward new heights of quality and sophistication.   Dimas developed an appreciation and respect for the highest quality ingredients and how to best showcase them.  He also developed his own personal style and approach to creating fine American Regional cuisine, igniting his culinary creativity to become a budding top chef. 
     
    He continued his culinary rise at The Lodge at Ventana Canyon where he served as Executive Chef at the private club.  Dimas then returned to The Boulders as Chef de Cuisine exercising his freedom of creativity and experimentation with innovation.  Later he moved to The Arizona Kitchen at The Wigwam in Litchfield Park where he held the post Chef de Cuisine, creating authentic Southwestern cuisine. Dimas and Chef Wiley later joined forces again to open the Hotel Valley Ho. As Chef de Cuisine at Café ZuZu, Dimas’ “retro casual” modernization of American cooking classics has been heralded and widely enjoyed.  
     
    Orange Sky patrons can expect meals that are both approachable and creative.    The menu focuses on locally grown produce, naturally raised meats and environmentally responsible seafood, presented alongside unparalleled views and uncompromised service. 


    Lee Hillson
    Executive Chef
    Lee Hillson

    Executive Chef
    T. Cook’s, Royal Palms Resort and Spa (Scottsdale, AZ)

    Festival Event(s):
  • Best of the Fest

  • Chef Wine Dinners

  • AZ Culinary Hall of Fame - Chef Extraordinaire

  • Few things in life are certain, but here are three sure bets: Executive Chef Lee Hillson will greet you with a smile, leave you smiling, and dazzle you with his creativity and culinary style which he describes as “a lightly polished, rustic Mediterranean cuisine.”

    Chef Lee enjoys the challenge of creating back-to-basic dishes with a tantalizing twist, and he sources phenomenally flavored ingredients in his commitment “to be more in touch with what we use and keep the earth greener.” But it’s his approach to his job that makes him a standout, believing that a “chef cooks from the heart while a cook cooks from the wallet.”

    His fervor for fresh flavors is reflected in the ever-growing list of products he makes in-house. The rows and rows of cured meats in his charcuterie locker are expanding daily with luscious link chorizo, boar prosciutto, pork loin, lardo, pancetta, soppressata, coppa, mortadella, and lamb prosciutto to name a few. A brisk retail business has developed from the demand for his signature Orange Marmalade, made from the citrus hand-picked from the resort’s groves, as well as the T. Cook’s Pesto and Salsa. ”Not only is this a lot of fun, but the more things we can make in house, the more we can control the integrity of what we serve our guests.”
     
    In addition to running the kitchens and tracking labor and food costs on a daily basis, Chef Lee embraces his role as “babysitter, father and big brother” to his staff, all of whom describe him simply as “awesome.”

    Promoted to Executive Chef in 2005 after five years as Sous Chef, Chef Lee has experienced a meteoric rise in a business that now requires top-notch telegenic talent coupled with nerves of steel and razor sharp business acumen.  He has these in spades, as evidenced by his battle with Iron Chef Cat Cora on the blockbuster Food Network show, Iron Chef America, where with his secret ingredient (ham) he created the dishes twice baked ham and goat cheese soufflé and the T. Cooks classic rendition of pasta carbonara. Then there are his numerous stints as a Celebrity Chef on luxury cruises through the Mediterranean, Hawaiian Islands and Alaska. He was tapped by British Airways to create a First Class menu for the Phoenix to London flights and was nominated to the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame. He has created remarkable meals for luminaries such as President George W. Bush, Barbra Streisand, Princess Diana, Richard Branson, Billy Joel and a favorite local celeb, blockbuster author, Clive Cussler.

    His heart is as big as his talent, so his leisure time is filled with commitments to both local and national charity events such as the Maui Charity Golf Classic-Susan G. Komen Hawaii, the Space Coast Early Intervention Learning Center in Florida, Taste of the Nation, Phoenix Cooks, Forks & Corks, and United Food Bank, to name a few. He even strutted his stuff for the Arizona Kidney Foundation as a “celebrity dancer” for their record-breaking charitable event.

    Somewhat of a prodigy, Chef Lee enrolled in culinary school in his native England at the age of 16. Just two years later he was cooking in the heart of Texas at the Hyatt in Austin, and then returned to London as the Chef de Partie at the Roux Patisserie, owned by world-renowned chefs, Albert and Michel Roux. With several prestigious stops as Pastry Chef in England, Hillson again crossed the Atlantic to become Executive Sous Chef at Vanderbilt Hall in Newport, Rhode Island. Within a few short months, he was appointed Executive Chef at this restaurant, ranked as one of the country’s top five by Country Inn magazine.

    After Rhode Island, Chef Lee joined T. Cook’s and has since been part of the lineup that has garnered acclaim from the likes of Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report, Travel + Leisure magazine and a host of Phoenix/Scottsdale food writers. He has repeatedly taken top honors in Zagat Surveys, Gayot.com and the Arizona Republic/azcentral.com Readers’ Choice Awards. Hillson has cooked on many occasions at the James Beard House in New York, hosted a Friends of James Beard dinner at the resort, and tirelessly participated in countless local high profile culinary events.

    With a schedule that leaves mere mortals breathless, he makes time to get out of the kitchen and enjoys reading, yoga, golf, movies, traveling and is widely recognized for his lively and gracious entertaining at home and, of course, his ubiquitous “Cheers!” salutation.


    Kyle Lipetzky
    Executive Chef
    Kyle Lipetzky

    Executive Chef
    Il Terrazzo at the Phoenician

    Festival Event(s):
  • Chef Wine Dinners

  • Chef de Cuisine Kyle Lipetzky is the driving force behind the contemporary Italian Il Terrazzo Restaurant at The Phoenician, where he is responsible for overseeing all culinary aspects of the Il Terrazzo Restaurant, In Room Dining and Thirsty Camel Lounge, including training and development for a team of more than 35 culinary ambassadors.

    Chef Lipetzky hails from sunny San Diego where he began his culinary career at the age of 17 in the kitchens of a local golf club and several free standing restaurants throughout San Diego. Shortly After graduating high school he moved to Arizona to attend Scottsdale Culinary Institute.

    Chef Lipetzky brings over twelve years of experience in the culinary field to his position. In December of 2009 he took the helm of Il Terrazzo, prior to that he held the position of Sous Chef in Mary Elaine’s and The Terrace Dining Room formerly at The Phoenician.

    Kyle has also held positions here in the valley at The Camelback Inn as Sous Chef and Chef de Cuisine; as well as Sous Chef at The Esmeralda Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, California.
     


    Robert McGrath
    Executive Chef
    Robert McGrath

    Executive Chef
    Renegade Canteen

    Festival Event(s):
  • Chef Wine Dinners

  • Don’t let the awe-shucks attitude and well-worn Stetson cowboy hat fool you; Robert McGrath is one of America’s finest chefs and restaurateurs.  Winner of the prestigious James Beard “Best Chef in America: Southwest” Award, and owner of Restaurant REM in Paradise Valley, Arizona, McGrath has been a nationally noted chef for nearly two decades.  Born in Texas, McGrath’s culinary career began with classical training in France, followed by prestigious postings including Chef de Cuisine at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas; Executive Chef of the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston, Texas; and Chef/Owner of Sierra Grill in Houston, and Brio Vista in Austin, Texas. 

    In 1988, Food & Wine magazine chose Robert McGrath as one of the “Ten Best Chefs in America.”  The following year, Chef McGrath’s DeVille Restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel-Houston was chosen by Esquire magazine as “One of the Best New Restaurants in America,” and in 1991 he was also the chef for the Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations.  

    In 1992, McGrath migrated to Arizona to serve as Chef de Cuisine for Windows on the Green at the Mobil Five Star Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, before moving on to open Roaring Fork in 1997.  Named after the river that flows through Aspen, Colorado, Roaring Fork’s distinctive, ruggedly elegant menu—featuring seasonal ingredients and Old West recipes restored with a new west twist—changed the face of American Western cuisine and broadened McGrath’s already successful career in the culinary industry.  In 2006, he sold his interests in Roaring Fork.

    Nominated five times by The James Beard Foundation as “Best Chef in America: Southwest” (he brought home the honor in 2001), Chef McGrath is also a member of Arizona’s Culinary Hall of Fame.  He’s appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Morning Show on CBS, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, Good Morning Arizona, CNN, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and The Food Network, and also written the popular cookbook, American Western Cooking from the Roaring Fork.  Today, this hard-working father of three lives with his wife, Amy, in Scottsdale, AZ.


    Mel Mecinas
    Executive Chef
    Mel Mecinas

    Executive Chef
    Four Seasons Hotel & Resort (Scottsdale, AZ)

    Festival Event(s):
  • Best of the Fest

  • Chef Wine Dinners

  • Scottsdale, AZ – Meliton “Mel” Mecinas, a 13-year veteran chef of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, was named executive chef of the Scottsdale property in February 2006.

    Mecinas’ passion for cooking began at home, following in his father’s footsteps.  He first began working at Yoshiro, an Asian restaurant in Encino, California. Mecinas gradually began to hone his culinary skills, “learning by doing” and through considerable practice, precision and perseverance.

    Mecinas’ next step found him working with veteran restaurateur Joaquim Splichal, owner of West Hollywood’s Patina Restaurant, Pinot Bistro in Studio City, and Café Pinot in Los Angeles.  Mecinas credits the nine years working with Splichal as the backbone of his training in the importance of service, presentation and attention to detail – all skills that would later serve him well in his career with Four Seasons.

    “I learned the value of elegant presentation, and the importance of using only the highest quality, freshest ingredients,” says Mecinas.  “Mr. Splichal had very high expectations for his staff.  But that’s how I learned to be the best, and the most creative at what I do.”

    In 1997, Mecinas began his career with Four Seasons, at the property in Santa Barbara.  During his time in Santa Barbara, Mecinas cooked the second course in a seven-course 90th birthday celebration dinner for renowned culinary personality Julia Child.  His Smoked Salmon Parfait with Osetra Caviar and Vodka Crème Fraîche Panna Cotta won rave reviews from the culinary great.

    From Santa Barbara, Mecinas joined the team at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, his most recent appointment prior to Scottsdale.  From high-profile celebrity guest requests and impressive gala award dinners to entertaining visiting politicians and dignitaries, Mecinas put his culinary training to the test overseeing Gardens restaurant, the Café, Windows Bar and Lounge, and the Poolside Grille.

    In Scottsdale, Mecinas is responsible for the property’s many dining options, including the two main restaurants – Talavera and Crescent Moon.  Both provide seating indoors and al fresco.  Additionally, Mecinas oversees Saguaro Blossom, the casual poolside venue that caters to guests from lunchtime through pre-dinner cocktails.

    Mecinas also is responsible for all food and beverage service throughout the conference and banquet facilities, juggling everything from a casual Southwestern barbeque for 100 guests on the Resort’s Troon Lawn to plated dinner service for an elegant wedding reception in the new Ironwood Ballroom.

    Following his arrival in Scottsdale, Mecinas reinvented the concept in both Talavera and Crescent Moon.  He introduced a contemporary American menu to the new Talavera signature restaurant, while drawing upon his own culinary heritage from Oaxaca, Mexico, to bring a modern Mexican concept to Crescent Moon.


    Justin Pfeilsticker
    Executive Chef
    Justin Pfeilsticker

    Executive Chef
    Trader Vic's

    Festival Event(s):
  • Chef Wine Dinners

  • Justin Pfeilsticker grew up with a grandfather who loved to cook, and would often help him in the kitchen; this is where his desire to become Chef Justin Pfeilsticker was born. He got his culinary education at Baltimore International Culinary College, with a degree in Restaurant Management and Cooking Skills. He then began his career across the Atlantic, at Chez Pauline in Paris, in 1989. Speaking no French, Pfeilsticker was sent below ground with a shovel to dig in the restaurant’s cellar, where he worked for several months. By the time he left this three-star restaurant, under the direction of Chef André Genin, he had worked his way up to chef de partie and learned extensively about French cuisine and cooking styles.

    After this stint overseas, Pfeilsticker returned to the states, taking a position in Arizona. He worked as a catering chef for Vincent’s on Camelback, then went on to cook as sous chef at L’Orangerie at the Biltmore Resort, which earned a five-star award during his time there. He then took on the position of executive chef at Top of the Rock, located at The Buttes Resort, which received numerous awards during his reign.

    After working at these varied Valley restaurants in the early to mid-90s, Pfeilsticker realized his long-time dream of opening his own restaurant. He opened Café 181 in the outskirts of Downtown Chandler in 1996, serving classic American food to a welcome crowd. Only a few years later, Chandler began redeveloping the downtown area, and Café 181 was changed to Justin’s, with a new, central location downtown. Justin’s offered cooking classes and specialty dinners along with its daily menu, until it closed in 2001.

    After working as executive chef and owner of Café 181 and later Justin’s, Pfeilsticker took a position as executive chef at Jilly’s in Chandler, where he prepared upscale American cuisine for over 350 guests at a time. Two years later, he worked as a consulting chef, offering his expertise by developing menus, planning kitchens, and training servers and cooks. After a year, Pfeilsticker longed to return to full-time restaurant work, and became executive chef of Firebirds in 2004. After three successful years at the restaurant, he left to work at Hotel Valley Ho, where he started as chef de cuisine at Café ZuZu in 2007 and later accepted his current position of executive chef at Trader Vic’s. Here, Pfeilsticker serves a variety of classic Trader Vic’s appetizers, while offering signature dishes of his own creation, infusing Asian and French influences.


    Chef Wine Dinners Participating Wineries
    Chef Wine Dinners Participating Wineries


    Arizona Stronghold
    Arizona Stronghold


    Destino Winery
    Destino Winery
    Website: www.destinowines.com

    Festival Event(s):
  • Chef Wine Dinners

  • Jessup Cellars
    Jessup Cellars


    Tres Sabores
    Tres Sabores

    Chef Wine Dinners Participating Restaurants
    Chef Wine Dinners Participating Restaurants


    Bistro 24 at Ritz-Carlton
    Bistro 24 at Ritz-Carlton
    Website: Bistro 24 Website

    Festival Event(s):
  • Chef Wine Dinners

    Festival Menu: Coming Soon...


  • Il Terrazzo
    Il Terrazzo
    Website: Il Terrazzo

    Festival Event(s):
  • Chef Wine Dinners

    Festival Menu: Coming Soon...


  • Orange Sky at Talking Stick Resort
    Orange Sky at Talking Stick Resort
    Website: www.talkingstickresort.com

    Festival Event(s):
  • Chef Wine Dinners
  • The Chocolate and Wine Experience

    Chef Wine Dinner Menu:

    The Chocolate & Wine Experience Menu:

    • Guajillo Chili Flourless Chocolate  Torte
    • Calamansi Ginger Milk Chocolate Truffles 

  • Renegade Canteen
    Renegade Canteen
    Website: www.renegadecanteen.com

    Festival Event(s):
  • Chef Wine Dinners

    Festival Menu: Coming Soon...


  • Talavera
    Talavera
    Website: www.talaverarestaurant.com

    Festival Event(s):
  • Best of the Fest
  • Chef Wine Dinners

    Festival Menu: Coming Soon...


  • T Cook's
    T Cook's
    Website: www.tcooksdining.com

    Festival Event(s):
  • Best of the Fest
  • Chef Wine Dinners

    Festival Menu: Coming Soon... 


  • Trader Vics
    Trader Vics
    Website: Trader Vics Website

    Festival Event(s):
  • Chef Wine Dinners
  • Cooks and Corks

    *Participating in Cooks & Corks Event on Saturday Only.*

    Festival Menu:
    Coming Soon...

  • 2010 SCF Photo Gallery
    2010 SCF Photo Gallery

    Get Adobe Flash player Install latest flash player if you can't see this gallery, or click here to see the html version.

    2011 Event Photos
    2011 Event Photos
    2010 Event Photos
    2010 Event Photos
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