Tucson's Downtown Chefs Table Puts Spotlight on Local Food

PosterCT2With the first ever Downtown Chef's Table dinner just around the corner, participating chefs are beginning to fine tune their menus for what will be one of Tucson's greatest culinary collaborations.  Set for Sunday, October 12th, the event begins  at 5:30pm at Etherton Gallery where Chefs and mixologists from Penca, Reilly Pizza and 47 Scott/Saint House will serve craft cocktails and signature appetizers. Dinner will follow at Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails, located downstairs from the gallery, where Chefs from Agustin Kitchen, Maynard's Market & Kitchen, Proper, Pizzeria Bianco and DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails will present  five courses paired with wines. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit Tu Nidito and the Fox Tucson Theatre. This event isn't your normal benefit dinner, however, as this evening has a special focus on locally-produced food and beverages. With a quick glance at the menu, featured below, you'll see specific words pop out such as "local," "seasonal," and "Arizona." One of the dishes is literally titled "Lamb Shoulder Barbacoa and Elements of Autumn in Baja Arizona." This dinner will truly give you a sampling of what Arizona tastes like.

Carlson Creek vineyards

The meal will end with Proper's Arizona Olive Oil Cake. "This olive oil cake has Hayden Mills Flour, milled right in downtown Tempe," said Proper Chef Kris Vrolijk. "The pecans and dates come from Bob McClendons farm in Peoria, Arizona, and we had to choose Tom Alfonso's Oro Balen olive oil. It is other worldly." This dish will be paired with Carlson Creek's Sweet Adeline Reisling from Willcox. "This wine is the match. Period. It balances the sweetness of the cake, while the acids in the wine are pushed to the forefront. The smooth finish and lingering cool, melon flavor is all you need," said Chef Kris.

This event is also a testament to the rising local restaurant and food scene in downtown Tucson. The area is now home to over 60 restaurants, drawing locals and visitors to the city center to enjoy a delicious meal. We've written before about how restaurants are the leading force behind regenerating neighborhoods, and are a key component of mixed-use development and urban retail. Tucson is just another example of where local businesses are leading the way in economic development and building vibrant local communities.

If you'd like to attend the dinner, get tickets now as they will sell out quickly. Here's the menu of the amazing Arizona flavors you will be sampling if you're one of the 100 lucky attendees:

Soup Course ~ Chef Ryan Clark, Agustin Kitchen Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with puffed pastry, red beet panna cotta, beet & apple salad, Alfonso Gourmet blood orange olive oil. Paired with: 2013 Aridus Viognier, Cochise County 

Salad Course ~ Chris Bianco- Pizzeria Bianco Seasonal salad with fresh local ingredients Paired with: Dos Cabezas Meskeoli

Fish Course ~ Chef Jared Scott, Maynards Market & Kitchen Pan Roasted Cobia with Fennel cooked risotto style, smoked blueberry, shallot marmalade, and Arizona sprout house onion flower Paired with :  Pierre Sparr, Gewurztraminer, Alsace, France, 2011

Meat Course ~ Chef Janos Wilder,  DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails Lamb Shoulder Barbacoa and Elements of Autumn in Baja Arizona Paired with:  Callaghan Vineyards 2009 Padres Estate (Sonoita) Proprietary Red Wine

Dessert ~  Chef Kris Vrolijk, Proper Arizona Olive Oil Cake with local dates and pecans. Paired with: Carlson Creek, Sweet Adeline Reisling, Willcox, 2012