Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale Chef Earns Top Culinary Kudos

Talavera Chef Samantha Sanz nominated for James Beard Award

March 19, 2019,
Scottsdale, U.S.A.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North announces that Chef Samantha Sanz, who oversees the Resort’s Talavera restaurant, has been nominated for one of the culinary world’s most prestigious awards - The James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year Award.

Chef Sanz joined Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North in the autumn of 2015, and was mentored by then Executive Chef Mel Mecinas.  When Chef Mecinas resigned from his role in 2016, Chef Sanz was ready to take the Talavera kitchen as her own. At the age of only 28, she became one of the youngest chefs in all of Four Seasons to lead a restaurant kitchen.

“We are so excited and proud that Chef Sam has earned the recognition of the James Beard judges. Her nomination as Rising Star Chef of the Year is a tremendous achievement and a well-deserved honour,” said Kelley Moreton, the Resort’s General Manager.

A native of Nogales, Mexico, Sanz was virtually raised in her family’s restaurant where she could be found running through the kitchen with her cousins pausing just long enough to snack on beans wrapped in handmade tortillas before her grandmother shooed them out.

“There were no PB&Js when I was a kid,” says Chef Sanz. “I tasted everything. I was convinced that the love and hard work that went into every dish was what made everything taste so good.”

That’s where her passion for food, found in the warmth of her home among her loved ones, first began. Despite her mother’s wishes for her to study law, the young cook had her mind set on culinary school.  After graduating Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale and spending a year in France, she began her career as one of the few female cooks in the kitchens of top Phoenix-area restaurants including Elements under Chef Beau MacMillan and Virtu under Chef Gio Osso. Her skills were honed, her natural talent bloomed, and she found her way to Talavera, the signature restaurant at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North.

After taking the helm at Talavera, Chef Sanz helped to oversee the restaurant’s complete transformation to a contemporary Spanish steakhouse and implemented an entirely new menu concept.

“My creation of the menu involved taking everything I am as a chef to bring these amazing Latin and Mediterranean flavours together and make bold, beautiful dishes,” she said. Her unique dishes range from paella made from a family recipe to grilled Galician octopus to one of the menu’s highlights, the secreto iberico de belotta, an Iberian pork shoulder served with a fig mostarda, pickled delicate squash and Arizona citrus.

Her tenacity and hard work are paying off in the range of sophisticated, flavourful meals she brings to the table each evening – dishes that have heralded acclaim from area residents and food critics alike.  Arizona Republic restaurant critic Dominic Armato lauded Talavera with 4.5 stars.  Phoenix Magazine restaurant reviewer Nikki Buchanan may have said it best:  “This girl is going places.”

While Talavera is a long way from Chef Sanz’ first experiences in her grandmother’s kitchen in the small town of Nogales, Mexico, the lessons her family taught her and her deeply rooted passion for food remain at the heart of her cooking today.

Talavera serves dinner from 5:30 – 9:30 pm Tuesday through Sunday. For reservations call 480 513 5085 or book online.