Becky Windels

Becky Windels

From her Southern heritage to her travels as an Air-Force daughter, Becky had the fortunate opportunity to experience a vast amount of culinary diversity at an early age. From the Norwegian influences of Montana and Canada, to the cuisine of Western Europe, to contemporary trends of California and the wholesome comforts of Colorado; she developed a culinary curiosity that would carry her through to the unique creations you experience today. Both fueled and inspired by her mother and her father’s love for cooking, organic gardening, pure and naturalistic values and their bittersweet...
Silvana Salcido Esparza

Silvana Salcido Esparza

One of the country’s foremost authorities on regional Mexican cooking, chef Silvana Salcido Esparza has earned a gilded reputation since first opening the original Barrio Cafe on 16th Street and Thomas Road in Phoenix, 2002. Chef Silvana comes from a long line of bakers. The Salcido family has a rich heritage that dates back to medieval Spain where they were the official pastry chefs for King Ferdinand. They immigrated to the New World, to Mexico, in the 1600s and reached Los Angeles shortly after World War II. Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza was born in L.A. and raised in Merced, CA, surrounded by some of the richest land in the world – the San Joaquin Valley. She was brought up in a three-generation household and her time was spent working alongside family in their bakeries, delivering bread to the campesinos and minding her parents small store. Chef Silvana’s family frequently crossed the border to procure hard-to-find Mexican staples, which they offered for re-sale in their retail bakery. Handmade baked goods and homemade tortillas sat alongside novellas, prayer candles and medicinas. Her parents’ customers included everyone in the area, their American neighbors next door, and the waves of Mexican workers who migrated through the Valley seasonally. Chef Silvana moved to Arizona and continued the legacy of her entrepreneurial family, but she did it her way and became a chef. She opened the celebrated Barrio Café in 2002 and has offered award-winning Mexican food ever since. Serving elevated Mexican cuisine with flair all her own, she is now considered one of the best Mexican chefs in the city country. Since 2002, Salcido-Esparza...
Michael Lamey

Michael Lamey

Michael Lamey, Executive Chef at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa graduated with honors from Johnson & Wales University with an Associate Degree of Science in Culinary Arts & Bachelor of Science in Food Service Management. Michael, with over twelve years culinary experience has been with Marriott for nine years at five different resort properties. Michael was born and raised in small coastal community in southern New Jersey. Growing up in New Jersey also known as “The Garden State”, Michael appreciates the efforts of local farmers. He proudly partners with local farms and sustainable food purveyors to provide a unique farm to fork experience. Michael showcases this philosophy at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge utilizing ingredients from: Crow’s Dairy Farm (Buckeye, AZ), Duncan Family Farms (Goodyear, AZ), and McClendon Farms (Peoria, AZ). The resort recreates their menus four times a year to highlight food...
Todd Allison

Todd Allison

As the executive chef at T. Cook’s at Royal Palms Resort & Spa, Chef Todd Allison brings more than 10 years of luxury culinary experience to his role. Prior to joining T. Cook’s in May of 2015, he served as executive chef at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe and executive chef at Anthology in San Diego where he was responsible for all day-to-day operations of the 350-seat jazz supper club. Prior to that, he was the executive chef at Hilton Checkers in Downtown Los Angeles. Chef Allison also previously worked as executive chef at Bollinger’s in Santa Barbara, chef de cuisine at Studio at Montage Laguna Beach as the right-hand to Chef James Boyce, tournant chef for almost three years at Mary Elaine’s at The Phoenician and as sous chef at Michael Mina’s restaurant, Aqua, at the St. Regis Monarch Beach. A native San Diegan, Allison began his culinary tenure at the age of 15 as a dishwasher and worked his way through each step in the kitchen, understanding the essential aspects of each position and the importance of a unified kitchen team. Allison obtained his Associate Degree in Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale. When not in the kitchen, Chef Allison enjoys the great outdoors – surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, hiking, competing in triathlons, exploring new restaurants and traveling the...
Matt Carter

Matt Carter

Matt Carter’s culinary career began as a dishwasher when he moved to California from his native Arizona and took a barely paying job washing dishes at The Eggery breakfast restaurant in San Diego. At The Eggery, something happened. Carter took to the restaurant business. He made his way to the line as a prep cook and later enrolled at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, where he graduated in 1989. After completing culinary school, Carter cooked at Scottsdale’s La Chaumiere, and became obsessed the artistry, demands, and disciplines of French gastronomy. His experience there inspired him to pursue additional classical training in France, where he took courses at Le Cordon Bleu and apprenticed at various Parisian restaurants. When Matt Carter returned to Arizona from Europe in 1992, his credentials landed him the Chef de Partie job at Christopher Gross’s highly acclaimed Phoenix restaurant Christopher’s. Carter cooked at Gross’s restaurant for over six years, ascending to the position of Chef de Cuisine until a chance meeting with Thomas Keller in 1998 would lead to an opportunity at Keller’s- world renowned French Laundry. After working as Chef Poissonnier in one of America’s most illustrious kitchens, Carter returned to Scottsdale and in 2001 collaborated with restaurateur Terry Ellisor to create the Zinc Bistro, a restaurant which has now become the benchmark for French bistro cooking in Arizona. More recently in 2008, Carter teamed up with Ellisor and entrepreneur Brian Raab to create The Mission restaurant, which serves Modern Latin Cuisine. The idea originated from Carter’s Arizonan upbringing and his deep love for weekend pig roasts, serving friends and family slow-roasted, homemade pork tacos. Those...
Christopher Nicosia

Christopher Nicosia

Born in East Chicago, Indiana. Grew up in Joliet, Illinois. Graduated from La Lumiere School, a private boarding school, in La Porte, Indiana. (1989) Graduated from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana (1993) where I studied Psychology (animal behavior) and English Literature. Spent summers cooking at Jacob’s Restaurant in Dennis, Massachusetts (Cape Cod). Moved to Scottsdale, Arizona to attend Scottsdale Culinary Institute (1996-1997) and fell in love with Arizona. Worked as a line cook at Lon’s at the Hermosa (1997-1999) for two years before getting a Sous Chef position at Desert Mountain at the Cochise -Geronimo clubhouse (1999-2001). Promoted to Chef de Cuisine of the Apache Steakhouse at Desert Mountain (2001-2003). Became Chef de Cuisine of Constantino’s Italian restaurant at Desert Mountain in 2003 and held that position until 2010, when I accepted the Executive Chef position at Sassi. Cooking style is greatly influenced by the time spent around the dining room or kitchen table with my family. My Mother is a fantastic cook, which really sparked interest in food for our entire family. I am also influenced by travel experiences. I have been lucky enough to travel the world with my family on hunting and fishing expeditions, which also turned into eating marathons where we ate what we caught or shot, sometimes right on the boat, or in the field. Hunting and fishing travels include : South Africa; Panama; Venezuela; Columbia; Costa Rica; Canada; Hawaii; Virgin Islands.  Local and seasonal products are also important to my cooking. I have developed great relationships with valley farmers and producers. You will often find me at the Farmer’s Market at Roadrunner Park chatting it up with the...
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