A person can eat only so many salads and cold cuts. When you’ve exhausted your no-heat recipes and are fed up with sweating over the grill for the sake of keeping the kitchen cool, summer — in the culinary sense, anyway — starts to seem very long indeed.
Enter the Summer Chef Series, a shot in the arm for motivation that’s withered like lettuce in the scorching soil. A new partnership between Phoenix Public Market and Devour Phoenix, it puts Arizona chefs in touch with home cooks who have exhausted their hot-weather repertoire.
“It’s like you’re in their kitchen, having a conversation as they prepare a meal. They go through the recipes step by step and sometimes ask for people to come up and help them. You’re bantering back and forth, they’re telling stories, you’re picking their brains,” says Margaree Bigler with Devour Phoenix, a coalition of independent local restaurants.
During the two-hour demonstrations, led by a different chef each Saturday through Sept. 10, guests watch as chefs prepare appetizers, entrees and desserts. A small serving of each course, two beverages (typically glasses of Arizona wines) and take-home recipes are included.
Aug. 6: Chrysa Robertson, Rancho Pinot (Paradise Valley)
Aug. 13: Doug Robson, Gallo Blanco Cafe (Phoenix)
Aug. 20: Tracy Dempsey, Tracy Dempsey Originals (Scottsdale)
Aug. 27: Jen Anderson, Windsor (Phoenix)
Sept. 3: John Hall, Canela Bistro (Sonoita)
Sept. 10: Michael Brown of Jamburritos Cajun Grille Express Food Truck (Phoenix)
Classes are held inside the Urban Grocery and Wine Bar adjacent to downtown Phoenix’s open-air Phoenix Public Market. The robust farmers market is full of produce and food vendors 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays — handy for grabbing fresh ingredients and culinary inspiration before class.
“Most of (the chefs) are focusing heavily on local produce and artisanal food products that are made around here. And they’re pretty educational about where to get your produce locally and how to pick it,” says Bigler.
Each class has room for 20 guests. Spaces tend to fill up by Thursday or Friday. Classes are $45 per person, and advance ticket purchase is required. Information is available by phone at (602) 254-1799. Tickets are available at www.foodconnect.org/phxmarket or www.devourphoenix.com.
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