Alain Ducasse, Jean-George Vongerichten or Gordon Ramsay can lure diners to their hotel restaurants – whether or not they are staying at the hotels that house them. Las Vegas is full of visitors who are happy to eat at the restaurants located in their hotels – and never venture out to explore nearby options. But that isn’t true at many city hotels. What is the most common question at the reception or concierge desk? “What restaurants do you recommend?” They definitely don’t mean the hotel’s own restaurant.
So, what can hotels do to reverse long-held belief?
Short of a celebrity chef, hotels can create their own buzz by encouraging in-house talent.
That’s just what the Hyatt Hotels across the US are doing with The Good Taste Series. This is a competition for chefs (not executive chefs) to underscore the hotel’s commitment to supporting staff. Think “Iron Chef Hyatt,” less the phony infighting. The Hyatt Good Taste Series focuses on food. It offers a chance, too, for sous chefs to become stars.
Hyatt is holding 12 regional competitions. Winners go onto to a national championship on November 4, 2014, at the Hyatt Andaz Maui at Wailea resort.
Super Chef joined four other judges for the Washington, DC, regional competition of ten area chefs at the Grand Hyatt Washington. Each chef had to prepare a breakfast dish, a lunch or dinner entree, and a children’s meal. The cooking was inventive. The ingredients came largely from local farms and fisheries in Virginia and Maryland–sometimes from the chefs’ own gardens.
The winner was Bradley Deboy, sous chef at the Park Hyatt Washington. Second place went to Gerard Spezio, executive sous chef at Grand Hyatt Washington and third place to Sarajevo Petty, sous chef at Hyatt Dulles. Here is Bradley’s menu:
Breakfast Dish: Duck Confit Hash – soft poached hen egg, chanterelle and trumpet mushrooms, crispy confit potatoes, duck hash, duck jus, and salad of frisee, cress and fermented mustard vinaigrette
Lunch Dish: Pan Seared Swordfish (see image, below) – charred eggplant puree, glazed farm peas, white asparagus, kimchee vinaigrette
Kids Dish: Honey Mustard Chicken Lettuce Wraps – BBQ yogurt, baby cucumbers, charred baby corn, popcorn, and tomato Parmesan salad
Plenty of talent shown out among the Hyatt’s sous chefs. Competitions like this one can generate new ideas, create buzz, and show off talent to foodie press, eager to spot the next great chef before anyone else.
Keep your eye on Bradley Deboy.