Samantha Sanz Stays on as Talavera Chef After Mel Mecinas Departs

For the past year, Chef Samantha Sanz has worked closely alongside Executive Chef Mel Mecinas at Talavera at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale. Since Mecinas' departure in early December, she's been at the helm of the restaurant, continuing the culinary tradition of New American cuisine spun with authentic Mexican touches that Mecinas popularized at the upscale resort steakhouse.

There will be a new executive chef coming on board at the end of this year (to be announced in January), who Sanz will work closely with. "Sam will continue to play a pivotal role in Talavera, and the new chef will oversee all of the outlets, plus broader culinary efforts," says Kim Cole, the resort's director of public relations.

Born in Nogales, Mexico, Sanz honed her culinary skills in Arizona alongside Food Network celebrity chef Beau MacMillan of Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, and James Beard Award-nominated chef Gio Osso at Virtú in Scottsdale. In a press release, she described her year at Talavera with Mecinas — who left to work at the Bob Parsons-owned Scottsdale National Golf Club — as a steadying lesson. "I walked in here on my first day, wanting to change the world," she said. "But Chef Mel helped me recognize the importance of taking it all in. Do I want to create new dishes and put my stamp on the menu? Sure. But my focus right now is to continue teaching my team and learning as an individual."

The menu at Talavera has undergone some seasonal changes, but Cole says "There are lots of Mel's touches still on there," in addition to dishes that showcase Sanz's  The new executive chef will be announced in early January.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea