american regional flavors
When I think of Southwestern cuisine, I think of bold, developed flavors. Roasted,
charred and grilled flavor profiles bring
out natural sweetness and transform
texture. My personal preference for any
meat or vegetable cookery is grilling
rather than searing or roasting.
Geographically, the Southwest
encompasses New Mexico, Arizona,
California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado.
Within this vast expanse, many regional
cuisines have evolved. Colorado boasts
of Rocky Mountain Cuisine, and
California has its own style. Today when
we refer to Southwestern cuisine, we
mainly mean the food, ingredients and
sensibilities in and around Las Vegas,
Phoenix, Denver and Santa Fe.
Phoenix has a diverse food offering
from some of the top chefs recognized
in U.S. Southwestern cuisine today and
encompasses a lot more than tacos and
guacamole. With the availability of year-round fresh produce, chefs are flocking
to the Valley to put their unique spin
on local and regional dishes with the
bounty of local ingredients.
Although mostly a desert climate,
there are plenty of mountain areas and
temperate valleys with rich farm lands
perfect for a 12-month growing season.
You can find arugula, beets and sweet
By Josh Curtis, CEC, MBA, program chair—culinary, The
International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Phoenix