Alessandro “Alex” Stratta, a two-Michelin star and James Beard Award-winning chef, has been selected to lead the culinary program at Fairmont Phoenix hotel and residences, the highly anticipated new luxury destination in downtown Phoenix, which is scheduled to open in early 2025.
In his role as chief culinary director, Stratta is creating the overall vision and menus for the five onsite restaurants, including an Italian coastal steakhouse, Mexican cantina, speakeasy, pool bar and lobby bar. After opening, he will continue to lead the culinary teams and oversee all day-to-day food and beverage operations.
In addition to Stratta, Fairmont Phoenix has enlisted Erik Segelbaum of SOMLYAY and GoodSomm wine club to build an accessible yet adventurous beverage program for the property. As one of Wine Enthusiast’s “40 under 40 Global Tastemakers of 2020” and Food & Wine Magazine’s “2019 Sommelier of the Year”, Segelbaum will tap into his extensive expertise, influence and philosophy to curate beverage offerings within each venue.
“Fairmont Phoenix will introduce a new standard of luxury to the marketplace and our culinary programs will play a pivotal role in further elevating the visitor’s experience, for locals and travelers alike,” says Stratta. “Our goal is to go beyond what is hot and trendy for a moment, and instead focus on creating elevated, contemporary and authentic experiences that become a fundamental part of the community.”
The hotel’s Italian coastal steakhouse will marry inspiration from Italian and American cultures to create a menu that is clean, fresh and simple. Guests can expect a variety of offerings from modern steakhouse classics to approachable comfort food staples including house-made pastas, seafood and a dry-aged beef program.
The lively and fun cantina will feature contemporary Mexican food with a wide selection of seafood plates. Stratta will utilize his knowledge from his years spent in Mexico to build an authentic menu with the highest quality ingredients and dishes, including house-made tortillas. Mexican-inspired libations will be highlighted in an extensive cocktail menu alongside a diverse collection of beers, mezcals, tequilas and Mexican wines.
For those seeking a more intimate experience, as well as those who know where to look and who to ask, the hidden speakeasy within Fairmont Phoenix will offer perfectly handcrafted cocktails in a style-driven concept without pretense. This exclusive reservation-only cocktail bar will be well worth the journey for the select few who are granted access.
The pool and lobby bars at Fairmont Phoenix will provide a hub for visitors to gather and socialize while enjoying bites and drinks. The pool bar menu will focus on poolside favorites including salads, tacos and burgers. The lobby bar will define the arrival experience for guests and will feature a continental breakfast in the morning, along with quick bites and cocktails into the evening.
“I like to imagine that Alex is the movie producer and I am creating the musical score,” says Segelbaum. “The beverage program will be the perfectly mastered soundtrack to harmonize with the overall culinary experience. For me, luxury is all about having options, so there will be thoughtful and sensible variety that encourages guests’ sense of discovery.”
Stratta has led kitchens at well-known Valley resorts such as The Phoenician, Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia and the Arizona Biltmore. He later spent a decade in Las Vegas where he earned his restaurant Renoir’s two Michelin stars before returning to Arizona in 2016. In June 2021, Stratta partnered with Genuine Concepts to open Campo Italian Eatery – an Italian bistro tucked into Scottsdale’s McCormick Ranch neighborhood. After establishing Campo into the successful restaurant that it is today, Stratta left his role there to set his sights on this new endeavor with Fairmont Phoenix.
“Alex and Erik both have an incredible talent for creating unforgettable experiences, from the atmosphere right down to the finest details and ingredients,” says Dwight Alexander, the managing partner of Thunderbird Legacy Development which serves as Fairmont Phoenix’s developer and general partner. “The culinary and beverage programs will complement one another to ensure that each meal is electric and memorable – leaving guests with fantastic stories to tell.”
In addition to the hotel’s 225 guestrooms, including 34 suites, the property will feature 151 Fairmont branded residences that will include a variety of one-, two- and three-bedroom floorplans, as well as a collection of luxurious penthouses, which will occupy floors 14 to 25 of the building. Along with a variety of amenities, services and private spaces, residents can also expect one-of-a-kind and exclusive culinary and wine offerings including curated personal wine cellars and private fridge restock services.