By Alison Bailin Batz
Photo by Elizabeth Marie
Ron Dimas is chef de cuisine at Talking Stick Resort’s Orange Sky, where he focuses on setting guests’ senses ablaze with an elevated fusion of Southwestern and New American cuisines as impressive as the 15th floor restaurant’s view at sunset.
Did you always intend on being a chef?
My dad was a history professor at Arizona State University, so I grew up wanting to travel the world and soak up all of its rich history firsthand. In the mid-1980s, I was accepted into ASU with the goal of eventually working as a traveling videographer.
Given my dad worked at ASU, I could attend tuition-free, save for the cost of books and parking. So, in 1986, I got a job in the kitchen at the then-newly opened Tempe Buttes. I fell in love with the hustle in the back of the house juxtaposed by the elegance of the front of the house, not to mention dreaming up delicious dishes.
Tell us about your journey to Orange Sky.
There are 26 years between Tempe Buttes and joining Talking Stick Resort’s inaugural culinary team in 2010. Those years are filled with so many special ingredients, menus and chef mentors – notably chef Charles Wiley – as well as jobs at Boulders Resort & Spa, Hotel Valley Ho, The Wigwam, and Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, to name a few.
What is your favorite thing to cook, either at Orange Sky or otherwise?
It’s a tie. I love off-cuts of meat such as shanks and cheeks as well as game, notably elk.
Are you there any foods or ingredients you dislike?
Deepak Chopra once visited a restaurant where I worked and handed us asafoetida powder – an Indian spice that smells like onions and rotten eggs – asking we incorporate it into a dish. The smell almost knocked me out
If you weren’t a chef, what would you do as a career?
I love working with my hands, so I would likely be building furniture or wood-carving.
Orange Sky at Talking Stick Resort and Casino, 9800 E. Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale; 480.850.8606; www.talkingstickresort.com.