Sun Salutations Socialites!

Savoring some sunshine in Phoenix with plenty to go around! It's been a sweet & savory weekend in the desert. Starting with a hearty warm welcome at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa that transcended all our senses of space and time - did we really wake up still in Mountain Standard Time? Honored to meet acclaimed Chef Angelo Sosa and business partner Mark Stone for a preview of their upcoming contemporary southwestern restaurant Tía Carmen (named after Chef's Dominican Auntie) that celebrates the stories of farmers, community and the land. Cooling off at Griffin Bay Club before the big Gateway Celebrity Fight Night Gala back after 2 years off - plus a little escapade with The LONDON ESSENTIALS going from sunshine to snow skis...



JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa

Did someone say Prickly Pear? The culinary and beverage options at Griffin Bay inside of the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa is an enhanced VIP oasis in the desert. Welcomed by the cabana attendant, our first pick was the Prickly Pear margarita. Relaxing in the exclusive poolside experience we were able to get out of the heat with the misters. The luxe experience around the pool in the plush chaise lounges made this a must experience destination in the Phoenix area. The private cabanas were comfortable and incorporated everything you would want for luxury lounging including plush blue & white striped towels and flat screen TV.


Phoenix, Arizona Hotel LINK HERE

JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa is set on 316 acres of sweeping Sonoran Desert, featuring 950 rooms with dramatic desert and mountain views among lush grounds and gardens. The elements of fire, water, earth, and sky are woven into the resort experience, amenities, and decor. Arizona’s largest luxury resort offers Marriott’s first Revive Spa, a newly renovated fitness center and movement studio, six dining outlets, 240,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, and the exclusive Griffin Club. The AAA Four Diamond resort boasts four acres of elaborately landscaped waterways, including five pools, a 1,600-linear-foot Lazy River and 89-foot serpentine slide. A destination for the active, the expansive resort offers ample opportunity to explore the outdoors and delight in 330+ days of sunshine a year with on-site amenities like 17 new pickleball courts, five tennis courts, 36 holes of championship golf at Wildfire Golf Club, and bike rentals along with convenient access to nearby hiking and fitness trails.

Tía Carmen
contemporary southwestern restaurant

opening April 2022

renderings courtesy JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa

Chef Angelo Sosa's culinary expertise is more of a connection to the earth and an art form. He credits his “Tia” Carmen for the development of his passionate outlook on life and food. For the last year and a half, he has been creating perhaps his greatest achievement yet. His new restaurant is in partnership with seasoned restaurant operator Mark Stone and celebrates the stories of farmers, community and the land. Tía Carmen opens in early April at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa.

The architectural Adobe style feel with the accentuation of the curves and expansive ceilings are an example of the artwork that Chef Angelo Sosa brings all the way to your plate. He has partnered with the Pima reservation to utilize the abundance created through ancient technology and irrigation systems to produce a farm to table experience. Utilizing Arizona grass-fed beef and heritage varieties of grains and herbs, Angelo is expressing true love through his flavor experiences. The restaurant will feature an ornate bread table with mesquite bread and beautiful blue corn in homage to the region. They are incorporating the living earth through a tree that will be in the venue. Southwestern vases and baskets will contribute to the experience of contemporary southwestern cuisine. There will be an impressive selection of six different colored Agua Frescas including pineapple sage, prickly pear, and rosemary. Chef Angelo is thrilled with the development of the garden located onsite at the resort. He utilizes the flowers and herbs and what he claims are the best tomatoes anywhere that happen for only one month in the summer in Arizona.

Chef Angelo has what he calls a flavor memory, taking an experience and reincarnating it - like a modern-day alchemist, he encapsulates the memories of an experience and infuses them with flavors and spices. “Throughout my life, my Tía Carmen instilled in me a passion and love for cooking, teaching me the impact the power that food can have when made from a place of pure love,” says Chef Sosa.


photo courtesy JW Marriott

Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa

Acclaimed Chef Angelo Sosa is widely recognized for appearing on several television shows such as Bravo’s ‘Top Chef’ for three seasons and HBO Max’s Selena + Chef. As the founding chef and partner in the Michelin-recommended Mexican hot spot, Añejo Restaurants in New York City, Chef Angelo is inspired by his Latin heritage and the diverse techniques from his mentors throughout his remarkable career.


The event on March 12th, 2022 drew actors, entertainers, athletes, philanthropists, researchers and leading medical professionals from around the country to support the first in-person Celebrity Fight Night event since 2019. The star-studded gala was emceed by longtime host and GRAMMY® Award winning superstar of country music Reba McEntire, included performances by Pitbull, CeeLo Green, The Tenors, London Essentials, Tony Vincent, David Foster, and Vonzell Solomon, and raised more than $5 Million for under-funded Phase I and Phase II cancer clinical trials.

This year was the inaugural year for Gateway for Cancer Research, an internationally recognized philanthropic organization. The event was taken over by Gateway’s Founding Chairman and Vice Chair, Richard J Stephenson and Dr. Stacie J. Stephenson when they were handed the torch by the original event founder Jimmy Walker. The organization has generated more than $95 million in charitable funding throughout its 27-year history and raised more than $5 Million at its inaugural Gateway Celebrity Fight Night, a result of a merger between Gateway and Celebrity Fight Night in 2021. This year’s event featured a “Stardust Dreams” theme and was held on Saturday, March 12 at the JW Marriott Resort and Spa Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Arizona.

Gateway for Cancer Research is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization committed to funding practice-changing clinical research and to ending cancer as we know it. Thanks to generous underwriting from the Stephenson Family, 99 cents of every dollar Gateway receives directly funds Phase I and Phase II cancer clinical trials.

“I founded Gateway for Cancer Research for personal reasons, after my mother died unnecessarily after being denied the kind of life-saving treatment that this foundation prioritizes,” said Founder Richard J. Stephenson. “But what I realized was that my personal story wasn’t unique. There are so many of us in the “cancer club,” but to paraphrase Yogi Berra, it’s a club I’d rather not be a part of. That’s why events like this are so important. By humanizing our own battles, our own fights, we all become stronger.”

The black-tie event featured a cocktail reception, silent auction, elegant dinner and exciting live auction including one-of-a-kind luxury items. The live auction featured an intimate dinner with Reba McEntire, a Tito’s 25th Anniversary VIP Experience in Austin, an exclusive dinner in New York City with Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, and Martin Short, and more.


The London Essentials LINK HERE

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