By Alison Bailin Batz
Photo by Debby Wolvos
In recent months, Chef Chuck Kazmer took the reins of the Four Seasons’ award-winning haunts: Talavera, Proof, Saguaro Blossom Poolside Grill, and Onyx Bar & Lounge, as well as all food and beverage service throughout the conference and banquet facilities. Learn a little more about this Valley newcomer’s culinary prowess.
You’re new to the Valley, but not the Four Seasons brand?
I’ve been with the Four Seasons for 25 years – most recently at the Four Seasons Hotel Amman in Jordan, overseeing seven kitchens and eight restaurants, including one I built from the ground up, from the kitchen to the Kobe beef.
How did you get your start?
I always had a knack for cooking. My dad actually supported me, telling me “at least you’ll never go hungry, Chuck.” My first real kitchen job was for the Four Seasons in Austin, Texas, while I was in culinary school, where I worked as an apprentice for more than three years. I can still remember standing in their 38-degree kitchen deboning 400 or more chickens nightly for our guests. I also had stints at the Four Seasons in Boston, Dallas, Houston and Chicago while I worked my way up.
How do you approach your work?
Cooking is a craft, not really something you can learn from a book (hence my own three-year apprenticeship). I like to get my hands dirty – while keeping the food clean, of course!
What are some of your favorite ingredients to use?
That all depends on the season, but I love fresh mushrooms, especially those native to where I am working. In Jordan, we had a desert truffle to work with that tasted almost like a fancy sunchoke. Finding cool local ingredients is really my passion, and something I really want to do here in the Valley.
Is there anything you hate to cook with or eat?
I can cook anything, but I will never eat apple skin. Gross!
Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, 10600 E. Crescent Moon Drive, Scottsdale; 480.515.5700; www.fourseasonsscottsdale.com.