Chef Angelo Sosa

JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa is thrilled to announce the debut of Tía Carmen, a new dining destination led by renowned Chef Angelo Sosa along with seasoned restaurant operator Mark Stone set to open in early April 2022.

Tía Carmen, named after chef Sosa’s aunt, celebrates the local landscape, farmers, and community of the Southwest while reflecting a mix of tradition and modernity with bold, elemental cooking and a diverse beverage program.

A protégé of Jean-George Vongerichten, Chef Sosa is known for his work alongside the most pedigreed restaurateurs, including Alain Ducasse, Stephen Starr, and Masaharu Morimoto. He is widely recognized for appearing on several television shows such as Bravo’s ‘Top Chef’ for three seasons and HBO Max’s Selena + Chef. As the founding chef and partner in the Michelin-recommended Mexican hotspot, Añejo Restaurant in New York City, Chef Sosa is inspired by his Latin heritage and the diverse techniques from his mentors throughout his remarkable career.


“Throughout my life, my Tía Carmen instilled in me a passion and love for cooking, teaching me the impact and the power that food can have when made from a place of pure love,” said Chef Sosa. “The discovery of traveling through the Southwest gave me the opportunity to explore the region through the lens of ranchers, potters, farmers, and artisans. I have always had a deep fascination and appreciation for Southwestern food traditions. It has been an honor and privilege to be able to contribute to this beautiful and rich culinary narrative.”

The Food

Lamb ragu with mesquite noodles

Open for dinner, the menu will feature flavors imbued from a wood-fired grill highlighting the beauty and ingredients of the region. The menu is divided into three sections: light + fresh, maize + harina, and charcoal + wood + fire. Chef Sosa’s signature dishes at Tiá Carmen include Tuna Crudo with chilled corn coconut broth accented with jicama and garnished with dill; Southwestern style tri-tip kebabs garnished with Thai Basil, cilantro, pickles, and serrano chilis; Lamb Ragu with mesquite noodles; and Tía Carmen’s Chicken Guisado, a stew made with succulent pieces of thigh meat and seasoned with a mélange of cumin, annatto, arbol, and oregano.

Tuna crudo with chilled broth

Chef Sosa tapped long-time partner and restaurant operator Stone to help bring his vision for Tía Carmen to life, making this their first restaurant in Arizona. They are collaborating with a variety of Arizona-based purveyors, including Hypha Foods, the lead producer of foraged mushrooms; Ramona Farms, where he sources the iconic Tepary beans; and Arizona Grass Raised Beef and Top Knot Farms for responsibly raised meats. Additionally, Phoenix-based Blue Door Ceramics designed an exclusive collection of plateware in collaboration with Chef Sosa to showcase a bold, beautiful Southwestern tablescape.

The Drinks

To complement the Tía Carmen menu, Mitchel O. Bushell (formerly of Gwen, Gran Blanco and Accomplice) created a cocktail program focusing on local herbs and spices alongside local producers of small and large batched spirits such as Arizona’s own spirits Whiskey Del Bac and a broad program of artisanal agave spirits. Eduardo Dingler (formerly of Morimoto Restaurant Group) specially curated the wine program, which leans heavily on representation from Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe as well as wines from the West Coast and emerging European producers.

The Space

Designed in collaboration with Thomas Schoos of Los Angeles-based hospitality design firm Schoos Design, guests can expect an ‘Earth meets Art’ theme when entering Tía Carmen. The 130-seat restaurant represents a clean, warm palette of sophisticated natural simplicity that was developed to harmonize with Chef Sosa’s inspiration, his ‘Tía Carmen’, a woman of passion, love, and humility. Her presence permeates the design with the use of soft curves and arches hugging the space and the organic natural forms of the local landscape, capturing the essence of the rolling desert rock formations and calming hues, which can be seen throughout the space. Handmade plaster light fixture clusters continue to soften the space with organic spherical shapes, allowing light to wash through the space with effortless ease.

Oversized natural woven dome fixtures hang over the bar area and highlight the plush, inviting lounge seating. With an array of cozy dining nooks to discover the rich flavors of Chef Sosa’s inspiring cuisine, several items are cooked on an impressive wood-fire grill as a centerpiece of the restaurant. The captivating exterior boasts a natural desert landscape, an open adobe-style fireplace, and native Southwestern Pueblo-style architectural Latilla structures.

For more information about Tía Carmen, please visit @TiaCarmen.PHX on Instagram.

Photo courtesy of Michael Feinstein.

Michael Feinstein


Keep reading Show less
Gilles Toucas

Michael Feinstein will commemorate Judy Garland’s life on March 20 at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.


Keep reading Show less

I think it’s fair to say we all want that #fitlife, especially with Spring around the corner — as well as Gaypril on the way. Whether it’s pool season yet or not, everyone would choose to look fit over not looking fit, if they could have it with a snap of their fingers. OK, the vast majority of us would.

If you’ve met me, or have been reading my articles, you know that I live, sleep, eat and breathe fitness; it’s my heart and soul. That being said, I’m here to tell you that the concept of “fitness” is oftentimes tragically misunderstood.

Before you get too aggressive with your goal for pool season, let’s dive a bit deeper into what fitness means on the inside versus what it looks like on the outside, and common misconceptions around this concept.

1. Beware of the cultural pitfalls and misleading information around fitness.

Most of the bodies you see in the media are probably not real, they just look very convincing. As a trainer who also moonlights as a photographer and Photoshop wizard, I’m telling you that it is incredibly easy to alter pictures in materially misleading ways. Once you know the tricks of the trade, the imposters are easily spotted. But that’s not what this is about.

The point is: to the untrained eye, it can be devastatingly defeating to see such impossible standards. It seems as though the cultural pressure to look a certain way, to look perfect, has spread all the way from runway models to fitness novices with the help of smartphone apps.

The truth is that we fitness models look that cut, and that lean for only a couple days at a time. That’s it! In many cases, months or even close to a year of training, dieting and programming all go into looking like that for ONE day. Let that sink in for a second. Day to day, I am less cut, less tan and much flatter muscularly than what you see in some of my pictures. That’s just the nature of the beast. So, when you have a bad day on the scale, in the mirror or in any other scenario, remember that we’re all human and that the most legitimate photos you’re comparing yourself against were from someone’s very best day. That should help to keep things in perspective.

2. Most people want the results, without actually doing the work.

Fitness is not six pack abs, it’s not superficial, it is not temporary and it’s not an isolated phase in your life. Further, fitness is not something you do for someone else, do to spite someone else or even to impress someone else.

Fitness is confidence, toughness, dedication, coordination, power, balance, speed, strength (both literally and figuratively) and persistence in the face of all obstacles. This includes control over your attitude, your mood, your sleep, your schedule, your diet and other aspects of your life. This means getting that workout in when you least feel like it.

It’s not easy, and it’s definitely a grind that has good and bad days. You must show up and keep working on the days you’re tired, stressed, rushed, defeated, doubtful, afraid and so on. The days you actually have to overcome something instead of just checking your workout off your to-do list are the days you have the greatest opportunity to really make progress, push your body and see the most improvement.

3. Fitness is really an internal mindset. The external physique is the fringe benefit.

I’ve said this time and time again, and it might sound strange coming from such an aesthetic-focused trainer, but you are not your body. Your body is a tool, it’s a means to an end, to express your internal mindset, belief system, discipline and dedication to your workout program. Your physique will come and go. Your strength will come and go. Your abilities will wax and wane depending on what you’re training for at the time.

The outside will, and should, be always changing, but the inside is what we’re really after here. Good trainers want to train you to believe in yourself when sh*t gets hard. We want to train you to be resilient in the face of injury, obstacles and other setbacks. We want you to set ambitious goals and shoot for the moon because you can get there with smart programming and relentless will (do yourself a favor and ditch the crash diets and the photo editing software).

So, as you make your spring preparations for swimsuit season, try focusing on developing a sterling, unshakeable internal character and the muscles will come along the way, this I promise you.

Keep reading Show less