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  Behind the scenes at the Sanctuary Resort with a Food Network Celeb, and Iron Chef alumni. 

With just a few days before the debut of the Food Network’s newest show “Guy's Grocery Games,” one of the powerful execs behind it, was mingling with an intimate group of foodies at the Sanctuary Resort. In a private dining area adjacent to the luxury boutique resort’s restaurant and bar, the Food Network’s Andrew Schechter, joined Phoenix celebrity chefs Beau MacMillan, Lee Hillson and Mark Tarbell, and Sanctuary's General Manager, Mike Surguine, for quite the culinary evening. 

“Paradise Valley is appropriately named,” said Andrew as he glanced through the huge windows revealing the spectacular views of the mountains embracing the town of Paradise Valley. 

The evening’s dinner menu was also paradise, and the 50 dinner guests also had the chance to enjoy a live mini- “chopped” competition  ( a take- off informal presentation of the network's show "Chopped") between three teen age student chefs from the  East Valley Institute of Technology.   In between enjoying his gourmet dinner, Andrew dished facts about the Food Network, of why, for example, they chose chef Guy Fieri, for example for its newest "Grocery Games" show.  

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(Andrew and Kate Mason-Schechter and Jamie and Colleen Dugger)

 It was all part of the Sanctuary’s series of special events where the spotlight of course, is also on the unique menu.  Chef Mark Tarbell and famed restaurateur cooked up his braised lamb ravioli (loved it with the butternut squash) . Chef Lee Hillson of the Phoenician Resort (who was sporting his traditional kilt) prepared his pan seared scallops, and the Sanctuary’s Beau MacMillan served up his slow cooked beef short ribs, flavorfully adorned with the truffle whipped potatoes.The dessert course was topped off with Sanctuary's chef Audrey Enriquez's peanut butter and chocolate s'mores.   

Well- known Napa winemaker, Tuck Beckstoffer paired his wines with the different courses and also mingled with guests. There was lots of schmoozing amidst the great food and spirits, which continued after dinner at the resort’s new Jade Bar.  

The Sanctuary has a nine- year history of its "Lunch and Learn" events (previously lunch events). Pictured below is a classic photo from a prior "Lunch and Learn" event I wrote about three years ago. 


(Beau MacMillion, Ruth McCartney, Lee Hillson and Mark Tarbell at prior Lunch and Learn event.)

 That prior "Lunch and Learn" event boasted recongnizable names such as Paul McCartney’s step-sister Ruth McCartney. Chef Beau MacMillon had also invited chefs Lee Hillson and Mark Tarbell to join him to cook at that event.

The most recent 2013 dinner was another  classic event with a group of classic chefs -who by the way, are all Iron Chef alumni!


Kathy Shayna Shocket is a freelance Writer, Photographer and TV- Field Producer based in Phoenix, AZ. She's a former TV Reporter who's written for publications such as TIME MagazineMoney Magazine, PEOPLE Magazine,  The Hollywood Reporter  and The NEW YORK TIMES. You can reach her at redkarpetgirl@aol.com