Executive Chef Marks 35th Year with Skyline Country Club

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Issa Moussa's passion for cooking has lead him to create Tucson's most memorable dishes while reaching out to the community to inspire the next generation of chefs.

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A Skyline Country Club meal is something you won’t find at a store or make at home.

Some of Tucson’s best-loved and enjoyed food comes out of a huge, hard-working kitchen in the foothills, presided over by a veteran chef who avoids talking about himself, but whose quiet excellence has influenced decades’ worth of culinary professionals.

In his 35 years heading the kitchen at Skyline Country Club, Chef Issa Moussa has seen “big-sky meat and potatoes” evolve into healthy dishes with big flavors. He has cooked for every imaginable function, and takes the same care with massive weddings as with a single plate for any of the club’s members.

“Whether it’s a party showpiece or a soup that a member has enjoyed a certain way for 15 years, food should be special,” he says. “Even in an informal setting, a Skyline Country Club meal is something you won’t find at a store or make at home.”

For that reason, the club’s team stays up-to-the-minute on food trends and dietary needs. “Organic, gluten free, low sodium/sugar/cholesterol, dairy free – we do it all. Our members are also a great source of new ideas. They’re widely traveled and expect the best – and at a good value, too. So we always aim to surprise them, to bring them something extra in flavor, texture, presentation.”

For big events, that “something extra” may not be a dish at all. Begun as a personal hobby influenced by a former mentor, Chef Moussa’s ice sculptures have become a Skyline signature. Recent creations include an elephant god for a Hindu wedding, a life-sized cocktail bar, and a Santa sleigh complete with reindeer. Stunning yet temporary, the ice carvings are a metaphor for Skyline’s banquet cooking: Technically flawless, with inspired touches that make a single event extraordinary.

Skyline’s kitchen is also a popular training ground for novice cooks. A longtime board member of the Chef’s Association of Southern Arizona, Chef Moussa trains externs from the Art Institute and Pima Community College, where he taught upper-division culinary courses. He also regularly hosts observers from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base’s kitchens and culinary arts teachers from local high schools. These are examples of Skyline’s commitment to contributing to the community and Chef Moussa’s commitment to giving back to the industry he loves.

“I don’t consider restaurants competition,” he says. “I love to hear a member say, ‘Oh, we went to such-and-such place and it was wonderful,’ because that’s also good for us. A great meal makes you want to go out again; a bad one makes you want to stay home. We’re one industry, and by improving our skills, we make it better for everyone.”

So what does it take to join the Skyline culinary team?

“We look for vision, a passion for cooking and people who cook from the heart,” Chef Moussa said.

Those same things could describe Chef Moussa, who grew up in the business. “Our family had a restaurant, right on the Mediterranean Sea. The fish would swim up and we would catch them in a net and cook them any way the guest wanted.”

Now, one no longer has to fly to the Mediterranean to enjoy Chef Moussa’s creations. The public is invited to book events at Skyline to enjoy not only exceptional food, but a surplus of city views and photo-perfect spots – including the staircase seen in a thousand Tucson wedding photos. The club is also rolling out new décor, featuring club members’ photography on the first floor and bold hues that echo the art of club member and world-renowned artist Diana Madaras.

To learn more about Skyline Country Club, please visit http://www.skylinecountryclub.com. To schedule a kitchen visit or interview with Chef Issa Moussa, please call the contacts listed at the bottom of this release.

ABOUT SKYLINE COUNTRY CLUB
Skyline Country Club, an exclusive privately owned club, is nestled in the foothills of the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains. Skyline offers the finest country club amenities and service in the Southwest, and boasts 56,000 square feet of clubhouse facilities, including casual and formal dining rooms. Skyline has been a staple in the Tucson Foothills for 50 years and offers members and guests spectacular daytime and evening views of Tucson. Skyline Country Club has been named into the very prestigious Platinum Club of America, and is rated as a five-star private club. Skyline Country Club is located at 5200 E. Saint Andrews Drive.

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Diego Romero
McFadden/Gavender
(520) 882-6262
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