We live in a milkshake golden age. Resistance is futile.
Gone are the days of bland continental buffets and dry chicken breasts at your hotel's diner. More and more, talented Valley chefs are decamping from standalone restaurants to helm the kitchens of Phoenix's impressive hotels and resorts. But that's old news to Charles Wiley, who's been churning out impossibly fresh, creative and expertly made food at Valley resort restaurants for years.
With more than 40 years of experience under his belt, Wiley’s list of accolades is impressive: Food & Wine magazine named him one of “The Ten Best New Chefs in America,” and the James Beard Foundation recognized him as “One of the Best Hotel Chefs of America.” He worked for a decade at The Boulders before opening Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort in 2001. He went down the road to run the Hotel Valley Ho’s dining program in 2005 and opened the revamped Mountain Shadow Resort’s signature restaurant Hearth ’61 as executive chef and director of food and beverage earlier this year.
PHOENIX recently caught up with Wiley to chat about opening a new restaurant, how the Valley’s culinary landscape has changed since he first arrived, and the current trend of why so many top local chefs are working at hotels.*
1. Deep Purple & Alice Cooper with The Edgar Winter Band at Ak-Chin Pavilion – August 15
Deep Purple continues their Long Goodbye Tour in support of their latest album, “Infinite.” Alice Cooper will join them as he plays all his hits like “School’s Out” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” $15+. 6:30-11 p.m. Ak-Chin Pavilion, 2121 N. 83rd Ave., Phoenix, concerts1.livenation.com.
"We ate at 35 places in three days," Valley super chef Bernie Kantak (The Gladly, Citizen Public House) says of his recent Seattle excursion with Little Miss BBQ pit-master Scott Holmes. He says it with a faint, rueful chuckle. Translation: Yes, we made pigs of ourselves... but we learned so much.
Fast friends after cooking together at the James Beard House in New York City last year, the duo promised to do a culinary R&D trip in 2017. Ultimately, the settled on Seattle. And planned it on the fly.
"Any time that I'm traveling, I always try to glean as much perspective as I can from other chefs and what they're doing," says Christopher Brugman, chef de cuisine at Hearth '61 at the new Mountain Shadows resort in Paradise Valley.
Visiting his sister in Atlanta last fall, the chef mixed business with pleasure. "[Atlanta has] a really eclectic food scene. There are three [restaurants] that really set it off for me as far as excitement, and thoughtfulness, and playfulness, and uniqueness of represntation of how they dine and how their hospitality is different."