Hanie Nazari, born and raised in Tehran, Iran, has brought her passion for bold flavors and creative dishes to the heart of the Sonoran Desert at Hacienda Del Sol. Learn more about Chef Hanie and her incredible passion for cooking.
An interview with Middle Eastern Cuisine Specialist, Chef Hanie Nazari.
How long have you worked at Hacienda Del Sol?
I started working here in April 2019 after working at the biggest resort in Arizona, The JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix.
Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised in a family of four in Tehran, Iran. In 2014, I moved to the United States.
What inspired you get into cooking?
My mom was always passionate about cooking, she was always inspired by her recipe books. The care and effort she put into setting up a vibrant table was her way of showing affection and love to our family.
When I was 14 years old, my mom had to work outside the house so she would help instruct me as I read through recipes over the phone. The first night I cooked, I remember my dad was so surprised by how good everything turned out! That’s when I understood the joy it brings to see people’s eyes light up when they taste something delicious that I created. That whole experience really ignited my passion and sparked my interest in finding and making challenging recipes for others to enjoy.
What else helped you learn how to be such a great chef?
When I graduated high school, I wanted to pursue a culinary degree but I couldn’t because there wasn’t any available in Iran at the time. I studied for my Bachelor of Fine Arts and was always involved in the culinary industry trying to gain more experience and strengthen my skills.
When I moved here in 2014, I attended Pima Community College in their culinary program. I was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, served as President of the Culinary Club and even got to do live cooking demonstrations on KGUN9. I also got to showcase different Persian recipes at the Tucson Festival of Books and a couple home shows here in Tucson. I’m a board member of ICAT (Iranian Students Cultural Association Tucson) and I-CASA (Iransara Community Association of Southern Arizona). Through those groups, I have helped organize events for the community showcasing Middle Eastern cuisine.
What are some of your favorite dishes?
For me, I always try to push the limits and challenge myself but always staying true to tradition. My favorite recipes are the ones that are new and challenging! I do love The Grill’s Seared Sea Scallops and the Short Rib Pappardelle as well.
What’s your favorite part about working at Hacienda Del Sol?
Hacienda Del Sol is my home. The people I work with are like family. Every day I am here I feel like I am at home. I love to treat our guests like they are guests in my own home.
Do you have any recipes you can share with us?
Yes, I have a great Iranian recipe for Chicken Saffron Kabob.
Chicken Saffron Kabob
- 2 lbs Chicken Thighs & Chicken Breast
- 2 tsp Saffron
- 1 Chopped Yellow Onion
- 2 Tbsp Lime Juice
- 2 Tbsp Mayonnaise
- ½ Cup Plain Yogurt
- 1 Bunch Chopped Parsley
- Cut the chicken into 2-inch cubes.
- Add saffron to 2 tablespoons of boiling water and cover for at least five minutes.
- Mix together saffron, onion, lime juice, mayonnaise, and parsley. Add chicken cubes to mixture and marinate for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.
- Skewer the chicken pieces on steel or wooden skewers.
- Grill your chicken on a charcoal grill until cooked through, approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Serve with basmati rice and grilled tomato.
Tip from Chef Hanie:
If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before adding the chicken.
Ready to try some of Chef Hanie’s Middle Eastern cooking? Enjoy a Chef’s Table Dining Experience with her expertly-created Middle Eastern Menu option.
See you soon.