Interview with Executive Chef Salvatore Moscato of Hilton Sedona
In early January, the Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa announced the arrival of its new executive chef, Salvatore Moscato. Chef Salvatore now oversees the resort’s banquet dining options as well as its signature restaurant, Grille at ShadowRock, offering regional fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We had a chance to ask him a few questions about this new position in an interview below.
But before we begin, we’ll give you a little background: Originally from Vittoria, Sicily, Chef Salvatore was first inspired there as he cooked traditional Italian dishes with his great-grandmother at a very young age. A passion for good food and utilizing fresh ingredients ran in the family as he often helped his mother and father harvest fruits and vegetables, while assisting his uncle in the family’s winemaking business. From his childhood years, he learned to appreciate traditional cooking approaches and the importance of working with seasonal ingredients.
His culinary resume includes working at the renowned Casa Dante (at the ripe ole age of 19!) in Jersey City and eventually opening his own Trattoria there. He’s also worked at an island restaurant in Puerto Rico, and specialized in local “Criollo” cuisine and Italian dishes. Chef Salvatore later joined the Hilton family as Sr. Sous Chef at the Embassy Suites San Juan Hotel and Casino, and ultimately Executive Chef at Embassy Suites Dorado del Mar Beach and Golf Resort.
Now, you’ll find him in the gorgeous red rock city of Sedona.
Interview With Chef Salvatore Moscato
Amy Martin: What brought you to your new position at Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa?
Chef Salvatore Moscato: As a native of Sicily, I was so inspired by the beauty of the Red Rocks and night skies that I decided to move here from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Amy: What plans do you have for the menu at the Grille at ShadowRock? Have you made any significant changes so far?
Chef Salvatore Moscato: It hasn’t been long since I started so I have not yet made any significant changes. But the plans are to offer internationally inspired cuisine focusing on quality and freshness. And superb service, of course.
Amy: Where do you look for inspiration as you create new dishes for the menu?
Chef Salvatore: At any quality food marketplace. The inspiration is endless.
Amy: What keeps you motivated?
Chef Salvatore: Flavors. To try new things.
Amy: If you could have unlimited supply of any ingredient (produce, protein, spice, etc.), which would it be?
Chef Salvatore: Halibut, because it is a high quality fish, and versatile.
Amy: Is there one specific item that would never be found in your kitchen, either at work or home?
Chef Salvatore: Dry basil.
Amy: If you hadn’t become a chef, what would you be doing right now?
Chef Salvatore: Physician. It is another way to serve people.
Amy: When you’re off the clock, what is your “go-to” meal?
Chef Salvatore: I love to grill, but my second choice is good Chinese.
Amy: Is there any culinary trend that you’ve tired of?
Chef Salvatore: Absolutely not.
Amy: Tough question, I know, but can you recount the best meal you’ve ever eaten?
Chef Salvatore: A family gathering at a Trattoria in the resort town of Taormina, Sicily. It has become my most memorable meal as my father passed away shortly thereafter.
Amy: Any favorite local Sedona restaurants?
Chef Salvatore: Cucina Rustica.
Amy: Care to share any kitchen tips with our readers?
Chef Salvatore: Use fresh and quality ingredients – ALWAYS!
Learn more about Chef Salvatore Moscato and the Hilton Sedona at hiltonsedonaresort.com.