The Tasting Panel magazine

JULY 2011

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Page 87 of 120

The Magnificent way from the cowboy-fueled tourism and hip-and-hopping bar scene of Old Town Scottsdale, Montelucia Resort Todd DeSilva, Food and Beverage Director at Montelucia Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, AZ. & Spa is an oasis of luxury and sophistication nestled at the base of the city’s most notable natural landmark, Camelback Mountain. There, a Spanish-influenced décor sets the stage for the ultimate in relaxation, and it’s all too easy to find yourself whisked away to another world where elegance and exoticism can be found at every turn. Translating this otherworldly appeal to the property’s food and beverage program is Todd DeSilva, a man whose dedication to perfection extends to each of the resort’s nine restaurants and bars. The Montelucia’s culinary crown jewel, Prado, offers stellar Mediterranean cuisine prepared by Chef Peter DeRuvo (see “Brief Encounters,” page 20), and the impressive beverage program at the restaurant’s signature M Bar focuses on balanced, fresh offerings. “You hear about the farm-to-table move- ment, which we obviously support and utilize,” explains DeSilva, “but we’re also taking those enhancements in the kitchen to the bar with an emphasis on farm-to-bar cocktails. This means that our mixologists and bar staff often have a culinary background and can influence their cocktails with a focus on flavor in a very ingredient-driven way.” DeSilva, a proponent of tequila, lets this spirit shine property-wide, but particularly at M Bar, where house-made juices, syrups and purées perfectly highlight an ever-expanding tequila menu. “I have a passion for tequila,” states DeSilva, “and it’s become a pet project of mine to try to take tequila to a whole other level outside of Margaritas and shots.” Simply put, when drinking one of DeSilva’s tequila-based cocktails, you might find yourself forgetting there ever was such as thing as a Margarita (or at least a Margarita prepared anywhere else on the planet). Cocktails like the Jalisco A TOP-NOTCH F&B TEAM TAKES COCKTAILS TO THE NEXT LEVEL IN SCOTTSDALE by Rachel Burkons / photos by David Huff Montelucia A Heat are complex platforms for high-end tequilas like El Tesoro Reposado, and In the Orchard, made with Cazadores Reposado, is a stoic, classic take that couldn’t be further from the humdrum tequila cocktails DeSilva strives to avoid. Helping take the Montelucia’s customers to the next level in cocktail appreciation isn’t just limited to tequila, however. Explains M Bar mixologist Eric Resch, “To be able to make a cocktail using a more traditional ‘food’ ingredient is something our customers find really interesting.” Resch shakes up a Modina Muddle, made with Hangar One Fraser River Raspberry, strawberries, basil and a balsamic reduction. A lot of people see the ingredients in this cocktail and don’t know what to expect,” laughs Resch, “but if they try it, they like it. It’s great to see them warming up to new things, experimenting with our cocktail program.” It is this playfully exploratory energy DeSilva (and his team) projects that makes him one of the most influential F & B Directors in the resort and hotel game, and as he continues to create trends in the mixology industry, we’ll be keeping watch.

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