Hundreds turn out for SAACA celebrity chef event - Liven Up - Explorer

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Hundreds turn out for SAACA celebrity chef event


There was a variety of desserts, appetizers and food choices for several hundred visitors to taste during the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA) Celebrity Chef Showcase event on March 15.

Local chef Ryan Clark, of Agustîn Kitchen, gave visitors a unique dish to test their palate taking a chicken meatball, adding blueberries and topping it with a mole sauce.

Celebrity chef, Sandy D’Amato offered one of the crowd favorites at the event hosted at the Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort.

D’Amato, who teamed up with local chef, Janos Wilder, presented Russian Shchi, a cabbage root vegetable soup.

“This event is. . .divine,” said Corrine Carlson-Cox. “There were so many flavors presented here tonight. Sandy D’Amato’s soup was wonderful. All the different flavors and the drinks here tonight just has my palate doing cartwheels.”

Adding an extra layer of flavors for the evening, was the popular bar Scott & Co. The downtown bar provided a mixture of drinks with spice, and kick with bases of tequila, whiskey and vodka.

Another of the night’s favorites was Chef Hugo Ortega’s Garnachas de tinga de conejo.

Ortega was paired with local chef Maria Mazon of Boca Tacos y Tequila.

Ortega presented guests with a small burst of flavor that consisted of sweet potato mesa cakes with rabbit stew.

While rabbit can sometimes be tough, visitors wouldn’t have guessed it from Ortega’s dish.

Ortega’s dish was so popular, supplies were running short two hours into the four-hour event.

Tucson resident Sandra Thompkins called the event “awesome”.

“Cooking truly is an art,” she said. “It’s really interesting to watch these chefs who know what they are doing work and create a dish.”

Besides being given the opportunity to taste the variety of dishes being presented, visitors were also given the recipes for each dish, which will allow them to make some of the celebrity favorites at home.