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PRIMO Tucson, Arizona
by James Beard Chef Melissa Kelly
JW MARRIOTT TUCSON STARR PASS

June 2016 Issue | Vol. 4, No. 12                                                                                                                                              Tucson, Arizona
 
                                                                                                              

 

 

 

 














 
 
 
 

Executive Chef
DOMA - MANHATTAN BEACH
KRISTINA MIKSYTE

Owner / Chef
BARAN'S 2239 - HERMOSA BEACH
TYLER GUGLIOTTA

Executive Chef
SECOND STORY - SCOTTSDALE
NICK RUSTICUS

     
Master Sommelier
THE PHOENICIAN
Greg Tresner/Salad Wines

       
Andrew Steiner:
3 Rare Cheeses

      
Eric Grossman
USA TODAY FOOD & TRAVEL EXPERT
Craft Spirits


     
Master Sommelier
THE PHOENICIAN
Greg Tresner/Pinot Noir
 


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PRIMO by James Beard Chef Melissa Kelly | JW Marriott Tucson Star Pass, Chef de Cuisine Roderick LeDesma | Tucson, Arizona
Local. Fresh. Modern. These three words appear at the top of the Primo menu. You could add Mind-expanding to the list, because that’s what this food is all about. This trademark characteristic comes from the venue’s owner, Melissa Kelly. Kelly’s culinary roots are Italian, and the items on Primo’s menu have Italian sensibility with Mediterranean leanings. But Kelly also honors her hippy lineage (her parents are actual members of the Woodstock Nation). So the dishes have a boho twist that turns culinary classics into unconventional culinary art of uncommon quality. She calls it “earth-changing”. Primo’s chef de cuisine, Roderick LeDesma, calls it “broadening people’s mindset”. Kelly started the Primo Nation in 1999 when she opened her original restaurant in Rockland, Maine. She described the concept as “high-quality”, “full-sensory”, and “un-intimidating food”. Local farmers and foragers improved their growing and gathering styles in order to meet her high bar. She promptly won the James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Northeast in 1999, and then again in 2013. The Rockland venue now includes a four-acre organic farm that provides nearly all of the seasonal-to-the-moment produce, as well as animals. Kelly opened a restaurant at the JW Marriott in Orlando, Florida in 2003, and then this one in 2005. LeDesma got hired at Primo in 2011. He worked directly under Kelly at the Rockland Primo’s grill station in 2014. The Primophile returned to Tucson in 2015 as chef de cuisine. He partnered with local growers Sleeping Frog Farms, which supplies much of the produce he uses.