Spotlight on new business: Culinary school-slash-restaurant is cooking with class
Darryl Tingler opened Saffron Bistro & Wine Bar at 6546 Second St. in Prescott Valley in mid-March to unite a fine dining experience with a culinary education.
Chef and owner Tingler offers international cuisine education for aspiring chefs and a mix of tasty dishes for patrons.
"This is a cookie-cutter of all culinary schools - every culinary school does this," he said.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in the late 1970s, Tingler is using his 30 years of kitchen experience to help others.
"It has always been a passion of mine to give back," he said.
"Generally, if you're a good cook, they don't let you out of the kitchen. That's what I've found," he said.
Tingler's passion to open the school and restaurant locally hit a boiling point about a decade ago.
"It basically gives anybody who has an interest in a food service career to see if this is truly what they'd like to do with themselves," he said.
Rather than leaving for some cooking school in Tucson or beyond, students can commit to six weeks of classes for $300, live at home and keep their paying job.
Students run the kitchen, working about 15 hours a week, along with receiving classroom instruction and daily training.
Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.
The menu includes a mix of salads, ranging from Dijon vinaigrette for $3 to an Asian salad for $5.50, and sandwiches and desserts for $4.
Dinner service runs from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. The dinner menu offers a traditional mix of appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts.
Tingler also features different cuisine choices each month. This month, Tingler is offering Mediterranean selections, and next month he might switch to Italian food.
Mike Arntzen is offering a perfect complement to Tingler's offerings. Arntzen, owner of Lonesome Valley Wine Co., runs the wine bar at one end of the business. "We offer family-owned, short-production wines from around the world," he said. "I specialize in wines that drink better than their prices."
Arntzen's bar and retail bottle shop are open from 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
And Arntzen offers a monthly wine dinner (specific pairings of wine with food) and Saturday wine-tastings.
"We complement each other's efforts with a symbiotic relationship between food and wine," he said.
For more information, call 772-2726.