The founder of Grace Farms shares advice on how to host a dinner party

If the gorgeous springtime weather is inspiring you to host a dinner party for some of your closest friends, Peter M. Deeley, Jr. encourages you to plan a meal made entirely from foods grown right here in Arizona.

Deeley, who is the founder of Grace Farms in Chandler and A Well Run Life, knows a thing or two about hosting dinners that feature an amazing, locally-sourced meal.

Grace Farms regularly hosts Pop-Up Dinners, which Deeley says allows people to enjoy extraordinary culinary experiences that are created by local chefs, utilizing local foods.

“We have a local culinary level of excellence that is vastly stronger than the common perception,” Deeley says, adding that at Grace Farms, the Pop-Up Dinners can be placed on the same level of what attendees would find in Napa, Sonoma and Marin, California. “These dinners are a way to design a night where people can appreciate how excellent our local food can be. We want to introduce people to the bounty of their own backyard, and celebrate the amazing flavors and superior health benefits of food grown the right way.”

Deeley hopes that the Pop-Up Dinners, which are each limited to 50 guests, will encourage people to not only strengthen the local agricultural industry by striving to buy locally grown food, but to also realize that good food is the foundation of health.

Tips on hosting a spring dinner at home

For people who wish to host their own spring dinner, Deeley suggests exploring local farmers’ markets for vegetables and meats that come directly from the community.

“Our local bakers are also producing outstanding breads, and we grow excellent beef within Arizona, as well,” he says.

As for adult beverages to offer guests, Deeley says Arizona is home to a number of tremendous wines, including Deep Sky from Southern Arizona.

“Or, if whiskey is more your speed, Del Bac’s Whiskey in Tucson is as fine a whiskey as you will find anywhere.”

Speaking of whiskey, those looking for some tasty inspiration for their spring dinner party can start with the recipe here that Deeley says is sure to be a hit with guests. It was from Chef Dennis Bagnasco of Farmboy Market, Meats, Sandwiches that was served at a previous dinner at Grace Farms.

Grace Farms hosts around a dozen private events a year. It is located at 13012 E. Chandler Heights Road For more information, call 602.717.7458 or visit


Osso Bucco with Whiskey Sauce

Serves 4


4 lbs. veal shank

1 cup whiskey

1 lb. onions

1/2 lb. celery

4 tbsp. fresh garlic

3 bay leaves

2 tsp. dried thyme

2 qt. beef broth

2 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. Kosher salt

1/4 cup roux

1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley


Secure meat to bone with twine and season with salt and pepper. 

In a large Dutch oven pot, heat vegetable oil until smoking. Add tied veal shanks to the hot pan and brown all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove browned shanks and reserve.

In the same pot, add the onion, celery and garlic. Season with salt. Sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 min. Return browned shanks to the pan, add the whiskey and sauté about 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of beef stock and remaining ingredients, except the roux and parsley. Reduce heat to low, cover pan and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. Check every 15 minutes, turning shanks and adding more beef stock as necessary. The level of cooking liquid should always be about 3/4 the way up the shank.

Carefully remove the cooked shanks from the pot and place on platter. Cut off the kitchen twine and discard.

Add a cup of beef stock and a 1/3 of a cup of whiskey to the drippings, turn heat to medium and whisk, scraping the bottom of pan. Strain to remove the vegetables and return to pan. Add roux and stir until slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place shanks on plates and pour whiskey sauce over the top and garnish with chopped Italian parsley and serve.