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Nothing could be more perfect than a day at the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa. This resort is nestled away in a quiet part of Paradise Valley where all the cares of the city seem to melt away. From its sparkling pool, to the luxurious rooms and stunning views of Camelback Mountain, everything is just as it should be. Of course, if you’re a foodie like me, the place you’ll want to be is the View’s Ballroom. Back for the 13th season, this summer’s Lunch & Learn series featured chefs from around the country, many of whom had been on popular television series.

One such culinary genius is Jamie Gwen. Jamie is a celebrity chef, certified sommelier, cookbook author and radio personality who recently won Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen and served as a judge for Fox TV’s Master Chef alongside Gordon Ramsey, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich. She, along with her sommelier husband Craige Bennett brought their delicious creations to the table along with some unique wines. Chef Beau MacMillan, head chef of Elements at Sanctuary was also on hand to help emcee the event and fetch a few ingredients for Jamie.

Everything was perfect as we sat at the tables sipping champagne and watching Jamie cook her 5 Ingredient Raspberry Buckle dessert. Every seat in the house had a great view as the event was being filmed, and fed to TV monitors around the room. The three course lunch featured cutting edge tastes from California. Little known wines like Montes Purple Angel were served with the entree of Crispy Truffle Honey Chicken. As if the afternoon weren’t already special enough, Craige had us all try a glass of Montes Late Harvest Gewurztraminer. This wine had not yet made it’s Arizona debut, and so we were the first in the entire state to taste this vintage. You never know what wonderful surprises will show up at Sanctuary Lunch & Learn.

Perhaps best of all, was getting to take home a packet with all of Jamie’s recipes for that day inside. Fun, educational, and delicious. This event has it all. That’s probably why it continues to return year after year. If you’d like to enjoy more of what Sanctuary has to offer, rooms are usually discounted for the event to let you stay and relax. This current Lunch & Learn has closed, but don’t despair, there will be more in the coming seasons. Try them all, they are different each time.

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