A Cultural Dining Adventure

Kai at Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass is a dining experience unlike any other, as evidenced by its impressive accolades, including being the only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star restaurant in the state.

Two things that set Kai apart are the exceptional guest experience and the focus on indigenous and local ingredients. Kai, which means “seed” in the Pima language, immerses diners in the culture and cuisine of the local Pima and Maricopa tribes.

Chef Drew Anderson

Chef Drew Anderson was named Kai’s Chef de Cuisine in June 2022. He has worked for acclaimed chefs, including James Beard Award winner Charleen Badman of FnB in Scottsdale. “I grew up in Minnesota, where I first began cooking and became acclimated to a fine dining approach to food,” he said. “My vision for the menu at Kai is to source and showcase as many local ingredients as possible while juxtaposing the menu with global accents.”

One of Kai’s local suppliers is Ramona Farms in Sacaton. “We feature many of their varieties of corn and beans,” Anderson said. “We use their tepary beans in many ways, from incorporating them into different breads to using them as a puree and in their pure form as well. Being a staple crop of these tribes, corn is vital to everything we do at Kai, and it can be seen in different ways across the menu.”

Kai offers a tasting menu that changes based on seasonal ingredients. The menu introduced in August 2022 features a mushroom dish with Ramona Farms’ Pima wheat-berry risotto. “The mushrooms are locally grown in Phoenix, as are the wheat berries,” Anderson said. “This helps to show the beautiful nature of what Arizona agriculture can be.”

Anderson describes the experience at Kai as an agricultural journey. “People can expect a cultural dining experience that they have never had before while trying dishes and unique ingredients from the Sonoran Desert,” he said. “We feature different original watercolor paintings on each menu that help to tell the story of this land and the people. Joshua Yazzie is the artist that paints our menus, interweaving stories passed from previous generations and elements of everyday life in the community.”

From the moment guests enter Kai’s dining room to the moment they leave, they are treated to exceptional service and the opportunity to learn about food and culture with impeccable attention to detail. “I believe the reason Kai has achieved the success it has is because there is a common goal among the entire team to provide the best possible experience for our guests while maintaining the integrity of the culture and community,” Anderson said.

For more information, visit wildhorsepassresort.com

About Shoshana Leon

Shoshana Leon is a culinary writer for Frontdoors Media and creator of Foodie Fo Sho.

From Frontdoors Magazine

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