This Weekend – Phoenix Cooks!

If you’re still trying to decide how to kick off your Labor Day Weekend this Saturday, then shame on you — you should have made your plans to attend Phoenix Cooks! long ago. This haute tribute to the culinary arts  goes down Sept. 4 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, and let us tell you, it’s going to feature a whole lot of learning, sampling, mingling, watching, shopping and winning!

Tailored specifically to the upscale dining enthusiast, the annual Phoenix Cooks! event offers guests the opportunity to sample specialty dishes from more than 50 unique restaurants around the Valley, as well as learn some tricks from Arizona’s top chefs, including how to cook healthier variations of your favorite dishes, how to properly pair food with beer and wine, and more.

Boutique wineries and the Alaskan Brewing Company will have select spirits on hand for guests to enjoy while watching demonstrations on three Viking cooking stages by some of the Valley’s favorite chefs. Mingle with these experts afterward and have all your culinary questions answered before heading over to the 33,000-square-foot shopping area, where you can peruse all the professional-grade equipment necessary to create your ultimate dream kitchen, including glassware, knives, the latest gadgets and more.

And best of all, you’ll be able to participate in a special raffle to win prizes any gastronome would covet, and 100 percent of the raffle proceeds will benefit the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Visit to take a look at the schedule of classes that will be offered. We have our hearts set on “Man of Your Manicotti,” “The Ultimate Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich,” “Food and Wine Pairing for the Novice or Expert” and “The Art of Beer and Dessert.” We think you can probably guess what they’re all about.

But what we’re most looking forward to is watching local chefs go head to head in a challenge featuring a collection of mystery ingredients that will require some mad improvisational skills. And new this year, the First Annual Latte Art Throw-Down will involve local coffee house baristas pitted against one another to see who can create the most sensational caffeinated concoction.

Tickets to Phoenix Cooks! are $75 per person in advance and $90 the day of the event. Also, classes are an additional $8 per person in advance and $10 the day of the event. And if you plan on taking a class, don’t hesitate to reserve your spot, as we heard they all sold out last year!

JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa is located at 5350 E. Marriott Drive in Phoenix  480.293.5000