Celebrity Chef Showcase to be held at Westward Look - The Explorer: Liven Up

Celebrity Chef Showcase to be held at Westward Look

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Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2014 9:37 am | Updated: 2:19 pm, Thu Feb 27, 2014.

The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance will be hosting a Celebrity Chef Showcase on Saturday, March 15 from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. It will be held at the Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa.

The event raises money to directly support arts and cultural programming for children, as well as paid internship opportunities provided by Slow Food Southern Arizona.

Tickets are $125 and include featured recipes from participating celebrity chefs paired with signature cocktails, beer and wine, and opportunity to meet celebrity chefs.

Purchase tickets here: https://saaca.thundertix.com/

Celebrity Chefs Include:

Sandy D'Amato

Sandy D'Amato is one of the most recognized culinary gurus in the foodservice industry. He's won recognition across the board for his skills in the kitchen, and has successfully launched two highly-rated restaurants. Julia Child herself requested he help cater her 80th birthday dinner. In 1988, Bon Appetit magazine touted D'Amato as "one of the finest seafood chefs in the country." That same year, D'Amato was one of 12 national finalists in the American Culinary Gold Cup, Bocuse D'or. In 1994, Sanford Restaurant was awarded both the Fine Dining Hall of Fame award by Nation's Restaurant News and the Distinguished Restaurants of North America Award. The following year it received the Ivy Award from Restaurants and Institutions Magazine. Sanford has consistently received the annual AAA Four Diamond Award, and scored the highest rating for food given by the Zagat guide 29. After being nominated for six consecutive years by the James Beard Foundation, Sanford won the Perrier Jouet Best Chef Midwest award in 1996. In 2001, Gourmet magazine named Sanford Restaurant as number 21 of the 50 best restaurants in America. http://sanfordrestaurant.com/

Sandy D'Amato will be paired with Tucson Chef Albert Hall from Acacia

Hugo Ortega

Hugo Ortega, executive chef and co-owner of Hugo's and Backstreet Café and finalist for the 2012 and 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards, was born in Mexico City. He later moved to Houston, Tex. where he attended culinary school and became executive chef of Backstreet Café. The talented chef has made two guest chef appearances at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City. In 1999, Ortega was named "Up-and-Coming Chef of the Year," by My Table magazine. In 2002, Ortega opened a third restaurant concept, Hugo's, serving Authentic Regional Mexican Cuisine. Hugo's has been lauded by local, regional and national media, including being named a "Top Table" by Bon Appetit, and "Where to Eat Now in 30 American Cities" and one of the "Restaurants We Love" by Gourmet magazine. Ortega was named Chef of the Year in 2002 and 2011 at the Houston Culinary Awards, and Hugo's was named "Restaurant of the Year" in 2003 by both the Houston Press and My Table magazines.

Hugo Ortega will be paired with Tucson Chef Maria Mazon from BOCA Tacos y Tequila

Ricardo Muñoz Zurita

Named "the prophet and preserver of culinary tradition" by Time Magazine, Ricardo Muñoz Zurita's restaurants have received recognitions such as the Prize Milléssime, Five Diamond Award and Four Forks status. He won Chef of the Year from Club Vatel in 2008, was appointed member of the Culinary Academy of France and received the Travel and Leisure Award for the category of best chef in traditional Mexican cuisine.

Ricardo Munoz Zurita will be paired with Tucson Chef Mario Diaz de Sandy, chef and instructor Pima Community College.

Rick Tramonto

Rick Tramonto is former executive chef and partner at the world-renowned, four-star Relais and Chateaux restaurant Tru in Chicago and current chef of Revolution in New Orleans. Tramonto is also culinary director of Tramonto's Steak & Seafood, RT Sushi Bar and Osteria. He has received a bevy of awards and honors including the James Beard Foundation for Best Chef: Midwest Award, the Robert Mondavi Award for Culinary Excellence, Food & Wine magazine's "Top 10 Best New Chefs 1994," Outstanding Service Award from The James Beard Foundation, Four-Star Mobil, and the Wine Spectator Grand Award. Tramonto has a number of television appearances that include "Oprah," "Today," "Iron Chef America" and most recently as a judge on "Top Chef."

Rick Tramonto will be paired with Westward Look Resort Executive Chef Antonio Rodriguez

Suzanne Goin

Suzanne Goin's artistry has earned her numerous accolades including Food & Wine Magazine's "Best New Chefs of 1999", the James Beard Foundation's "Best Chef: California" in 2006, and five more nominations by the Foundation for Outstanding Chef of the Year. Her fine dining restaurants, Lucques, a.o.c., and Tavern, and her signature marketplace restaurants for casual dining, The Larder at Maple Drive, The Larder at Burton Way, and the Larder at Tavern at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, reflect her passion for seasonal cooking and dishes bursting with colors and textures.

Suzanne Goin will be paired with local Tucson Chef Ginny Wooters, from The Abbey, Jax Kitchen and Poppy's Kitchen.

Jeff Michaud

Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Osteria Restaurant Philadelphia, Osteria Restaurant New Jersey, Alla Spina, Pizzeria Vetri, The Brig and Amis Restaurant in Philadelphia, Jeff Michaud began his cooking career at age 13 in a pizza shop. Michaud attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and graduated in 1998. His experience and travel throughout northern Italy culminated with the position of Executive Chef at a small inn in the foothills of the Alps. In 2006, Michaud returned to the U. S. and opened Osteria with Marc Vetri in Philadelphia. In 2008, The James Beard Foundation nominated Osteria for "Best New Restaurant" and, in 2010, he won the James Beard Award for Best Mid-Atlantic Chef. In 2011, Food and Wine magazine nominated Jeff for "Best Chef - People's Choice" in the mid-Atlantic region.

Jeff Michaud will be paired with local Tucson Chef Massimo Tenino from Tavolino

Michael Stebner

Michael Stebner is an award-winning chef and the executive chef of True Food Kitchen. He was previously the head of the culinary team at The Greene House restaurant in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the owner and operator of Region, a restaurant in San Diego, Calif., which was named in Gourmet magazine's "Where to Eat Right Now in 30 American Cities" list. He has also worked in the kitchens of Azzura Point at the Lowes Coronado Bay Resort, Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, and the French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., and others. Chef Stebner has twice been invited to the renowned James Beard House in New York City and is a New York Times best-selling cookbook author of "True Food - Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure." 

Michael Stebner will be paired with local Tucson Chef Omar Huerta, Executive Chef at Wildflower

Ryan Clark

Graduating near the top of his class from the Culinary Institute of America, Ryan Clark was named one of the Top Sixteen Junior Chefs in the US by the American Culinary Foundation. He is a three time winner of Tucson's Iron Chef competition, as well as the holder of Tucson's Copper Chef title and he has won top honors twice in the World Margarita Challenge for his innovative creations. Clark's first cookbook "Modern Southwest Cooking" released in October, 2013, showcases innovative recipes that combine his passion for regional cooking and local ingredients. He currently is a partner in his own restaurant, Agustin Kitchen, at Mercado San Agustin.

Liz Neumark

Liz Neumark is CEO and founder of Great Performances, rated Zagat's top catering company in New York City. Originally intended as a staffing service for women in the arts, Great Performances has evolved into one of the nation's most recognized and trendsetting catering companies. Liz's commitment to supporting sustainable agriculture and good earth practices led her to establish Katchkie Farm, her sixty-acre organic farm in upstate New York, in 2006. As well as providing fresh produce for catering events, Katchkie Farm is home of the Sylvia Center, a garden-to-table culinary-based program that inspires young people to discover good food and flavors on the farm and in the kitchen. Liz's experience in the food world has shaped her advocacy efforts: she serves on the boards of several groups on food policy and the food system, such as Just Food and GrowNYC, and she is the recipient of numerous awards, including Food Arts Silver Spoon Award and Crain's 100 Most Influential Women. In her spare time, Liz can be found exploring farm stands and food shops, and spending time with her husband and three grown children. 

Liz Neumark will be paired with local Tucson Chef, Kevin Fink from Zona 78.

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