Executive Chef Dushyant Singh's New Summer Menu at The Camby
From my first sampling of Executive Chef Dushyant Singh's flavorful dishes at a media event, to a dinner at Artizen with friends and a tasting menu, I've been impressed at every turn. And I'm not the only one. Earlier this year, Chef Singh of The Camby was nominated in the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame as Best Upcoming Chef.
Growing up in New Delhi, India, it was just after high school that Chef Singh decided to go into hospitality management. Through that avenue, he discovered his calling in the culinary world and, as he notes, "I've continued on this path and never looked back." At 19 he moved to the United States with his family, and found himself working at the Hyatt Regency in Lexington, Kentucky. “It was a little bit of a culture shock," he admits. "Here I am this guy from India, and all of a sudden I’m in Kentucky. It was there, though, that I really learned ingredients. I would go into the walk-in, ask my chef what the ingredients were, and write my notes. It was really helpful for me.” His journey continued with attending the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and later his first stint in Arizona at the Hyatt Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale. In the years since then, he's garnered experience and recognition working at Paris Las Vegas, the Waldorf Astoria Collection in California, and most recently as Executive Chef of The Westin Chicago River North, along with time spent at The Wigwam in Phoenix and the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass in Chandler. "Every time I moved out of Arizona, I always found my way back," Chef Singh notes. "I love it here. I don't see myself leaving anytime soon."
As Director of Culinary Experiences, Chef Singh is responsible for overseeing and creating menus for all dining aspects of The Camby Hotel, including Artizen Crafted American Kitchen & Bar, serving breakfast lunch, and dinner, The Bee's Knees cocktail lounge, the Poolside Bar, in-room dining, and banquet operations. At Artizen, the menu features shared plates designed to encourage guests to explore his unique cuisine, which draws on his Indian roots while deftly integrating locally-sourced ingredients and global accents. In June, summer menus debuted at all of The Camby's restaurants, including Artizen's newest dishes:
A clever take on the popular cheese and fruit plate, Chef Singh's delicious version pairs cheese with a colorful salad of saba-roasted strawberries, sweet marinated tomatoes, and bright orange segments tied together with hazelnut butter, fresh mint and basil, and a drizzle of truffle honey. On the current menu, guests will enjoy this vibrant medley with creamy burrata cheese and toasted ciabatta.
Under Small Plates, ahi crudo delivers silky slices of tuna gilded with crunchy watermelon radish disks and nods to the Southwest with grilled jalapenos, lime segments, nutty pepita oil, and a brushed swathe of aioli spiked with Cholula hot sauce.
Steak tartare is likewise creatively transformed. Set atop roasted bone marrow, Chef Singh's tartare eschews the traditional egg yolk component. "We're using the fat of the bone marrow as the emulsifier, " he explained, "and like to have people just dig in." This beefy flavor intensity is accentuated with the tangy zing of whole grain and purple mustards and a palate-cleansing celery and parsley salad brightened with pickled cholla cactus flower buds.
Asia meets the Southwest in a grilled asparagus salad whose simple description belies its complex flavor. Tender asparagus is blanched, grilled, and glazed with Chef Singh's innovative green chile teriyaki sauce, sprinkled with sesame seeds, and cossetted by a preserved lemon aioli embellished with the herbal kick of chimichurri.
A new addition to the Large Plates, the achiote-seasoned steelhead trout is fantastic. Inspired by the Yucatán dish of slow-cooked pork wrapped in banana leaves called cochinita pibil, at Artizen it receives Chef's flair with a beautiful steelhead trout filet. The fish is seasoned with a fragrant achiote rub of spices and ground annatto seed which lends its distinctive earthiness and golden-orange hue. Baking in banana leaves captures moistness and flavor, and accompaniments of chayote squash and sweet potato relish with the zesty pop of preserved lemon creates a harmonious balance of tastes on the tongue.
After Chef shared the inspirations for his wonderful dishes, I had a chance to chat and learn a little bit more.
What attracted you to a culinary career? Two things actually. I found that I was good at it and was getting success early on. It also gave me freedom to be who I am, allowed me to express myself, so to speak.
Do you have a mentor? I have two. One of my chefs I worked with at Wigwam was Kurt Zuger and he was my mentor when it came to how you manage a kitchen. I learned a lot from him. For the cooking part of it, it has to be William Bradley who was at the Vu [formerly at Hyatt Gainey Ranch]. He’s now at Addison [San Diego]. I had an opportunity to work with him and he’s just amazing.
How would you describe your cooking style? I pull a lot from ethnic cuisines. I draw a lot from my own culture too, a lot of spices, to get that aroma in my cooking.
How would you describe your food philosophy? Ninety percent is done by Mother Nature, so source the best ingredients you can. The 10% is what we do as chefs - what can I do to enhance that tomato, that strawberry, that piece of fish.
Any favorites on this new menu? The asparagus. It's very simple, but very flavorful. Those flavors speak to me with the umami from the soy and the tanginess of the preserved lemon at the end. I think it’s a perfect way to start, or a perfect side dish. I’ll eat it any time.
The Camby, Arizona's only Autograph Collection Hotel, is located at 2401 East Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85016. To learn more, visit http://www.writeonrubee.com/arizona/meet-the-camby
Check back next week for an interview and feature on Libby Longlott and her new cocktails at Artizen.