The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2015

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Page 86 of 136

86  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2015 by Elyse Glickman P ark City, Aspen and Santa Fe are known for their natural beauty, historic significance, niches as outdoor sports destina- tions and restaurants showcasing innovative American cuisine. Though Sedona has been a draw for some of the same reasons, food had long been an afterthought. That is, until Lisa Dahl arrived in 1995. Though she came to Sedona for a fresh start with her significant other, Italian-born chef Andrea DiLuca, she embraced her true calling when she surveyed the town's dining offerings. With no sophisticated dining venues to be found, the former fashion executive felt it was high time for her and DiLuca to bring a dream to life that she had shared with her son, Justin, who died near their home in San Francisco a year earlier. While Dahl & DiLuca began as a partnership and her culinary talents blossomed during their time together in the kitchen, Dahl's position at the helm of the company's business endeavors dictated her need to move forward as a solo act. "During my transition to sole ownership, I had many challenges," she says, "but the outcome is a restaurant group I am very proud of. My new Latin/Argentine restaurant, Mariposa ("but- terfly" in Spanish) is a symbol of the freedom, since I no longer need to ask permission to add a new drink, dish or wine offering to the menu." Dahl, who meets us for lunch at Pisa Lisa, her fast-casual dining concept, is attired in head-to-toe black and Prada accessories. Her sense of style is allied with her sense of humor, as we immediately notice Pisa Lisa is housed in a former Pizza Hut that she's reworked into a personal statement: Fresh local ingredients and classic recipes trump contrived and corporate. It also speaks volumes that Dahl has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation and Chaîne des Rôtisseurs for her accom- plishments in Sedona. "I am proud that all of our wine is hand selected to pair with specific things on our menus, rather than using the system where purveyors put us on certain programs," Dahl explains. "That said, we've been informed by our purveyors that with the two restaurants combined, we have sold more wines than anybody else in Arizona." Mariposa's wine program is built upon the relationships she sought out with specific South American wineries when visited in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. This approach was similar to her amazing relationship that was forged with Tenuta Argentiera from Bolgheri, Tuscany in 2010. Since Argentiera's introduction, Dahl's Italian restaurants have sold well over 1,000 cases of their delicious Super Tuscan Cabernet blends. Running four restaurants may take up Dahl's every waking moment, but the pride she takes in her ventures is palpable. She views fashion and cuisine as "the perfect marriage," wedded in elegance, showman- ship and attention to detail. What ties her perfect package of food and fashion together? The fact that everything is flawlessly prepared, wonderfully tailored to their concepts and fashioned with the freshest materials she can get her hands on. K N O R T W X B I L Living Dahl RESTAURATEUR-CHEF LISA DAHL IS ON A MISSION TO MAKE THE FOOD SCENE OF HER BELOVED SEDONA AS ENCHANTING AS ITS GEOGRAPHY AND COMPELLING AS ITS HISTORY Restaurateur-Chef Lisa Dahl owns four restaurants in the Sedona area: Cucina Rustica, Dahl & Di Luca Ristorante Italiano, Pisa Lisa and Mariposa Restaurant.

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