The short answer: Jesus Nunez, a native of Mexico who was Sharpe’s right-hand man for more than three decades.
According to the Arizona Daily Sun, La Posada general manager Johnny Jackson III said longtime guests are delighted with the mix of favorites and fresh approaches that Nunez has created in the restaurant.
Chef Nuñez hails from Jalisco, Mexico, and blends his background with the menu’s assets. For Thanksgiving, Nuñez prepared a Latin turkey, marinating the fowl in achiote paste, featuring chili, garlic and cumin with sweet prune sauce, which garnered rave reviews. Other additions to the line-up include pork chops in tamarind sauce and grilled fresh trout with roasted vegetables, a popular pick.
“We will continue the same traditions in level of service, quality of food and local sourcing, so nothing has changed,” Nuñez assured. “The groundwork for this exceptional hotel has been laid, and we will keep the train on the track.”
Sharpe spent 20 years at La Posada after carving out a formidable culinary reputation at Southern California restaurants. At the Turquoise Room, he created menus inspired by Southwest traditions and flavors and used local ingredients as much as possible, including churro lamb raised by Native Americans and elk.
Sharpe’s guidance led to praise from the New York Times, Conde Nast and Arizona Highways magazine. He was named a semifinalist for Best Chef by the prestigious James Beard Foundation in 2012.
Allan Affeldt and wife Tina Mion bought La Posada, built in 1929, during the 1990s and restored it into one of the most popular and praised lodging properties in the Southwest. It’s also one of the best-preserved examples of Harvey Houses by the Fred Harvey Co. that dotted the region during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
(Image of a Turquoise Room vegetable plate to go by Miss Shari via Flickr)