Kitchen Insider: Chef James Ducas – Hermosa Inn


This month, step into the kitchen of executive chef James Ducas from The Hermosa Inn. His recipe for Steak Frites brings the flavor of Argentina to the Southwest.

For Executive Chef James Ducas, his love of cooking started at a young age. With humble beginnings as a dishwasher in New York at the age of 14, it was the atmosphere, tastes and aroma coming from the rich culinary scene that enticed him to his chosen career path. From that point forward, his dedication, ambition and passion for food allowed him to rise the culinary ranks, and now hold the title of executive chef of The Hermosa Inn’s two restaurants, LON’s at the Hermosa and Last Drop at the Hermosa.

From washing dishes at age 14 to creating his own menus as Executive Chef, Ducas’ culinary journey is one of great dedication and displays the love he has for his craft. Without any traditional schooling – simply by learning from culinary greats – Ducas honed his skills in the kitchen, worked his way up the culinary ladder and in 2000 left New York to become executive chef of Pacific Café in Asheville, North Carolina. Shortly thereafter in 2003 he became a partner and executive chef at Savoy in Asheville, North Carolina, followed by his move to Arizona, when he started working for The Hermosa Inn in 2007.Hermosa-2

After six years, and working under the tutelage of two high profile chefs, Ducas is now the one in the spotlight as he takes the resort’s artful American cuisine to a new level, with his bold ideas, unique flavor profiles and cutting edge techniques.

“The most inspiring things for me are having new seasonality of ingredients, farm fresh products and fresh cuts of meat,” says Ducas. “New produce, especially from our garden, brings what we do in the kitchen to another level because our culinary team is able to have a deeper connection to the food we serve when the ingredients they planted are now being harvested to use on the menu.”

When not in the kitchen and dreaming up the next tasting menu, Ducas can be found camping, fishing and enjoying the outdoors, alongside his two German shepherds.

The Hermosa Inn is located at 5532 North Palo Cristi Road in Paradise Valley. For reservations at LON’s, call 602.955.7878. For more information, visit


Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients (In Order)       Quantity

Bavette steak                                       4 each

Wild baby arugula                               1.5 lbs

Cherry tomatoes                                  1/2 lb

french fries                                          24oz

chimichurri                                          2 cups

meyer lemon oil                                  4T

lemon juice                                          2T

parmesan cheese                                 2oz

salt                                                       taste

pepper                                                  taste

vegetable oil for frying                        1/2 gallon


  1. Using 1 cup of chimichurri marinate the steaks in chimchurri for about 12 hours.

    Steak Frites

    Steak Frites

  2. Meanwhile cut the tomatoes in half and place in a 250º oven on a greased wire rack for about 2-3 hours. When the tomatoes are done remove them from the oven and place in the refrigerator until you are ready for them. 
  3. In a large sauce pot, fill about 1/3 of the way up with vegetable oil and bring to 350º.
  4. Heat the grill to hot, and grill the steaks for about 2-4 minutes on each side.
  5. While the steaks are cooking carefully add the French fries to the hot oil, being very careful not to splash oil on yourself, and cook until golden brown. When they are done drain the excess oil off and season with 1/2 cup chimchurri, salt & pepper. 
  6. In a mixing bowl combine the arugula, tomatoes, cheese, lemon oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Mix well.
  7. Remove the steaks from the grill and serve with the fries, and salad.
  8. Drizzle the rest of chimichurri on the steaks just before serving.


SPECIAL SEASONAL OFFERlast-drop_zombie-cocktail_v3

With a history dating back to the 1930’s, beginning with original owner Alonzo “Lon” Megargee’s heyday in the Old West; celebrity guests, including John Wayne and Clark Gable; multiple owners; a fire in the 1980’s; and a complete renovation making it the 34-room luxury boutique resort it is today, it’s no wonder The Hermosa Inn has a few ghost stories.

“All of the spirits that guests and staff have encountered appear to be friendly, so many guests will often visit in hopes of having an experience of their own,” said Managing Director Michael Gildersleeve.

From October 1 – November 3 and starting from $296/night, guests are invited to book a Hermosa Hauntings package, which includes an overnight stay, two Zombie cocktails upon arrival and a guided ghost tour of the property.

To book a Hermosa Hauntings package throughout the month of October, call 602.955.8614 (toll free at 800.241.1210) or visit

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