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  • Tiffany Donovan

Inspired by Mexico Vacation: My Journey to Becoming a Private Chef in Scottsdale

Updated: Apr 8

In the tumultuous year of 2020, amidst the chaos of a global pandemic, my life took an unexpected turn – all thanks to food. While vacationing in Mexico early in 2020, the flavors of Puerto Vallarta, Cabo, and Mazatlán intertwined with unforgettable memories and sparked a culinary journey that would redefine my entire career path.

My then-fiancée (now wife) Hayley and I took a day trip to the quaint village of Quimixto, Jalisco where we embarked on a picturesque horseback ride through the rugged mountains to reach Cuale Waterfall. There, nestled amidst the natural beauty, we brunched at Paraiso La Cascada, an enchanting outdoor café serving authentic Mexican cuisine crafted by local hands. The flavors were vibrant, the setting serene – a taste of paradise.

Cuale Waterfall, Jalisco

Continuing further south, we found ourselves at the remote turquoise jungle of Playa Pizota. We indulged in the most memorable flame-fired feast with the ocean as our backdrop. Every bite was flavor-filled and a celebration of Mexico's rich culinary heritage.

But it was in Mazatlán where the experience created through food truly captured my heart. My family and I decided to partake in a cooking class at a beachside resort. As the sun rose over the horizon, we delved into the art of fire-roasted salsas, pico de gallo, and molcajete-style guacamole, and margaritas. It was a hands-on experience that left me in awe of the women who shared their passion for food in such a breathtaking setting.

Scottsdale Chef - Making Salsa in Mexico

Returning to Scottsdale, I found myself at a crossroads. Despite a decade in the medical field, my heart yearned for something more – something fueled by the flavors and aromas that had ignited my senses in Mexico. The idea of culinary school lingered in my mind, but with the world facing unprecedented challenges, I chose a different path.

Playa Pizota

Instead of enrolling in culinary school, I took a leap of faith and joined a local Scottsdale private chef as a part-time assistant and sous chef. What started as a tentative step soon blossomed into a full-blown love affair with the culinary arts. Amid the uncertainty, I found solace in the kitchen, crafting meals that brought joy to others – and myself.

Now, years later, I find myself at the helm of my culinary journey. As a personal chef, I have the privilege of sharing my passion for food with clients who appreciate the artistry and love that goes into every dish. My journey from the medical field to salsa connoisseur has been anything but conventional, but it's a testament to the transformative power of food and believing in yourself.

So here's to the flavors that have shaped my life, the memories forged around the table and the countless culinary adventures that lie ahead. As I continue on this new chapter, I invite you to join me on a journey of taste, exploration, and endless possibilities.

Scottsdale Private Chef


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