Autumn Ingredients

Chef Beau MacMillan Serves Up Fall Favorites with Seasonally-Inspired Fare


Beau MacMillan, executive chef of elements restaurant at the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort, loves the different seasons and unique ingredients that they bring. Autumn is his favorite, having grown up in Plymouth, Massachusetts — home of the original Thanksgiving. His hard work, dedication and creativity throughout the past 30 years have contributed to his current signature dishes, which use seasonal ingredients that enhance the flavor of the food without masking it.

Since elements opened in 2001, MacMillan has been creating mouthwatering entrees. He originally started at the resort in 1998 and became executive chef in 2004. He received national recognition as an Iron Chef winner when matched against Iron Chef Bobby Flay in 2006, and has appeared on other Food Network programs as well.

MacMillan graduated from Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island and worked with a number of prestigious East Coast chefs before moving to Arizona in 1998. At the age of 14, he worked as a busboy. That didn’t suit him too well so he asked to work in the back of the house, where he learned how to cook. As MacMillan passionately learned all he could, he earned the promotion to sous chef at distinguished restaurants where he learned different techniques while working with a number of prestigious chefs. His discipline has led him and elements to receive national recognition.

“I learned to stick with something until I mastered it; I took my time learning each technique before moving on to another,” states MacMillan.

A Culinary Adventure

Dining at elements is truly a memorable experience. The dining room is open and comfortable with beautiful views of Paradise Valley during the day, at sunset and in the evening. Outdoor dining is available to capture the breeze and feel closer to nature. There’s also a wonderful menu with mouthwatering cuisine that is prepared fresh from local vendors.

I started the evening sampling a few appetizers and they were delicious. I had the Brussels sprouts that are made with a thick slice of kimchi bacon, Brussels sprout hash and an organic egg on top. It tasted amazing. I then tried the artichoke tart, which was wonderful, and so were the rock shrimp and pork dumplings. I also sampled the Hudson Valley foie gras, which is a French delicacy meaning “fatty liver.” It was served with rhubarb on French toast. Unbelievably delicious.

The heirloom tomatoes were flavorful and a favorite of mine, served with bacon, brioche and avocado. The beet salad was served with goat cheese, honey, arugula, fennel and hazelnut.

Entrees consisted of the evening special, Grouper, which was perfectly cooked and extremely flavorful. The artful presentation of the food was very well crafted. Each course was like a gift that I unwrapped and enjoyed with each mouthful.

MacMillan has the incredible ability to take a favorite, recognizable dish and put his own sweet and savory twist on it. He creates delicious meals that contribute to an enjoyable and memorable visit to this wonderful restaurant and resort. So add elements to your list of places to dine, not only for dinner, but also for breakfast and lunch during the week and brunch on Sunday.

The Thanksgiving Day Feast

Each year, MacMillan and his catering team begin prepping for their annual Thanksgiving dinner three days in advance. He prepares 40 turkeys, as well as other items, including meats and seafood. The traditional turkey dinner usually includes his famous New England chestnut stuffing, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin cheddar bisque soup, mashed potatoes, apple cranberry relish and, of course, gravy.

This year’s Thanksgiving Day menu will include a tantalizing selection of appetizers, salads, entrées and desserts. Appetizers may include caramelized fig and balsamic onion tart; escargot pot pie; roasted pumpkin and white cheddar bisque; and cauliflower panna cotta. A choice of entrees may include a traditional Turkey dinner, seafood options, veal, beef and vegetarian dishes. The grand finale will include an assortment of scrumptious desserts to choose from. A detailed Thanksgiving Day menu can be found on the resort’s website.

As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, MacMillan has some advice for every man who loves football. “Tape it!” He recommends you enjoy the day with your family and friends and participate in the cooking and the day’s festivities. He doesn’t want anyone to lose sight of what the holiday signifies by getting stressed out.

“It shouldn’t feel like a chore, but a blessing with everyone pitching in,” shares MacMillan.

“Yes, that’s how wonderful memories are made.”