Renowned Arizona Chef Dedicates New Restaurant to Aunt

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.

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