For four days this spring, Scottsdale will be heaven for fine food aficionados with the debut of Nirvana, a culinary festival hosted by Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa. Destined to be an annual event, the inaugural Nirvana will evoke “a flavorful state of mind” as it brings together festival-goers with world-acclaimed chefs and winemakers for a series of tastings, special meals, and a celebrity golf tournament, April 27-30, 2017.
If “a gourmet is a being pleasing to the heavens,” as French gastronome Charles Pierre Monselet once said, then Nirvana is certain to live up to its name. Sanctuary’s own star Executive Chef Beau MacMillan will share the spotlight with Robert Irvine, Todd English, Scott Conant and renowned chefs and mixologists from Scottsdale’s most exciting local restaurants. Also playing a starring role will be Arizona’s glorious spring weather and famous sunsets, with Sanctuary’s mountain perch offering the ideal vantage point.
Tickets are sold at www.NirvanaFoodandWine.com. A portion of proceeds will benefit HopeKids, an organization that provides ongoing events, activities and a powerful, unique support community for families who have a child with cancer or some other life-threatening medical condition.
Festival-goers can make it a vacation by reserving a casita, suite or private home at Sanctuary, one of the most celebrated resorts in the U.S. Room rates will start at $479 per night, plus tax and resort fee, with a two-night minimum. Book at www.NirvanaFoodandWine.com.
On the 2017 festival line-up are:
Hosted by celebrity chef and television personality Robert Irvine and local celebrity mixologist Jason Asher, owner of Counter Intuitive and Undertow
Thursday, April 27, 7-10 p.m.; Infinity Pool and Lawn; $125 per person
Torch will kick-off the festival with a poolside Polynesian fantasy. Mixologists will compete at eight stations, as guests rub shoulders with an esteemed panel of judges to select winners of the Judge’s Choice and People’s Choice awards.
Birds and Bubbles
Hosted by chef, restaurateur, author and television personality Todd English
Friday, April 28, 7-10 p.m.; The Views Ballroom, Lawn; $135 per person, $225 VIP
Fried chicken and Champagne come together in an inspired pairing as guest chefs put their own spin on the southern specialty, complete with side dishes and bubbly. The all-star local line-up includes Stephen Jones (The Larder + The Delta and Homeboy’s Hotsauce), Cullen Campbell (Crudo and Okra), Justin Beckett (Southern Rail), Jeremy Pacheco (LON’s at The Hermosa Inn), Gio Osso (Virtù at The Bespoke Inn) and Beau MacMillan. They will be joined by visiting chefs from Palm Beach, Fla.: Clay Conley (Buccan and Grato) and Lindsay Autry (The Regional Kitchen & Public House). Festival-goers who book VIP admission enjoy personal time for 45 minutes with their favorite chefs.
American country singer/songwriter D. Vincent Williams & the Nashville Allstars, whose “Just Got Started Lovin’ You,” sung by Otto James, topped the country charts in 2008, will provide live entertainment throughout the evening. His songs have also been recorded by major artists like Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, Ricky Skaggs, and Rascal Flatts (“I’m Movin’ On”).
Master of Taste honoring Chuck Wagner
Friday, April 28, 7-10 p.m.; Casa Seven; $350 per person; limited availability
Chuck Wagner, owner and winemaker of Caymus Vineyards, and scion of the legendary Napa Valley vintner family, will be the guest of honor at an intimate dinner at one of Sanctuary’s elegant private estate homes. The evening will showcase the exceptional vintages of the Wagner Family of Wine and three generations of winemaking talent. Preparing the feast will be local chefs Christopher Gross (Christopher’s and Crush), Matt Carter (Fat Ox and The Mission), Mark Tarbell (Tarbell’s and Tarbell’s Tavern), and Beau MacMillan.
Saturday, April 29, 10:30 a.m. registration and 12 noon tee; Mountain Shadows; $400 per player
Each foursome will be paired with a renowned chef, star mixologist or notable sports figure at this fun-filled celebrity golf tournament being played at the long-awaited Mountain Shadows course located at the base of Camelback Mountain. Plenty of food, beer and spirits will round out an unforgettable day on the links.
Best of the West
Hosted by chef/restauranteur (Mora Italian) and Chopped judge Scott Conant
Saturday, April 29, 7-10 p.m.; Praying Monk and elements restaurant; $145 per person, $225 VIP
Sanctuary’s signature restaurant, elements, and its indoor/outdoor Praying Monk venue will be the setting for Nirvana’s final evening event. More than a dozen elegant restaurant stations will be manned by celebrated chefs from throughout the West, including James Porter (Terra Farm + Manor), Samantha Sanz (Talavera at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale Troon North), Sean Currid (Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails) and Beau MacMillan. VIP attendees gain early access and extra time with the chefs.
New Orleans Jazz & Bourbon Brunch
Sunday, April 30, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; elements; $85 per person
Nirvana will come to a rousing finale with a N’Awlins-style jazz brunch complete with live music and a Bourbon twist, serving up everything from étouffée to feather-light beignets at this fun sit-down event.