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Dining Out with the Valley's Culinary Kings & Queens

We ate like royalty (minus the royal treatment) with some of the Valley's finest Sunday afternoon at Dine Out with the Chefs at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, where the more than 20 local culinary celebrities (see the full list here) busted out all the stops.

Pamela Swartz, author of Dine Out Phoenix and the event's organizer, wasn't kidding when she told us "they don't skimp." Some of the chefs served up more three or more dishes at their stations.

The highlights:

Appetite-whetting appetizers like the watermelon, Gorgonzola and walnut salad from Estate House's Executive Chef Gio Osso, and the buffalo mozzarella with spicy salsa from Alto Ristorante e Bar's Executive Chefs Eric Howson and Salvador Prado. A scallop showdown between Executive Chef Charles Wiley of Café ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho and Executive Chef Juan Solorio of SWB, a southwest bistro at Hyatt Regency.

Click through for more food porn and our tips for next year...

A pork dual between The Mission and Zinc, with Executive Chef and Chef/Owner Matt Carter in both corners and his respective sous chefs Luis Milan and Rochelle Daniel battling it out.

And don't even get us started on all the sweets: pecan pie from Tracy Dempsey Originals' Tracy Dempsey, a fruit torte from Arcardia Farms' Carolyn Ellis, sopapillas from the Televera crew, tea-flavored ice creams from Sweet Republic's Helen Yung, and chocolate cake truffles from Julia Baker Confections' Julia Baker (clockwise below).

We washed it all down with Cruz Tequila, Pillsbury Wine and an elderflower Arnold Palmer from Espressions Coffee Roastery.

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A couple suggestions...

Give us a little room to breathe, eat and digest! The doors opened at 4 p.m., and we didn't see the line, but it must have been around the block. By the time we arrived and moseyed on inside at 10 after, the place was a madhouse of diners clamoring to score the delicious dishes and face time with the chefs responsible for them.

Announce other events and stick to the schedule. We tried to duck in to both of Sportsman's Wine 101's at least a good 15 minutes before they began, but they were both a) full and b) already in session. Outdoor food demos were somewhat neglected, and the launch of the Dine Out Phoenix mobile app got lost amongst all the chef stations. Next time, make sure everyone has a chance to get a taste of everything.

Still, the chefs were on point, the food was delicious, and we ate ourselves silly and (literally) rolled out...

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