Monday, August 10, 2009

Sitting down with The Oak Room's Chef Kyle Baker

Posted By on Mon, Aug 10, 2009 at 9:45 AM

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​A new young chef at The Oak Room in the InterContinental Hotel is hoping to make a lasting impression on both residents of Kansas City and travelers staying on the Plaza.

"I just want us to be known for putting out consistently good food," says Kyle Baker -- the chef de cuisine at the Oak Room.

Baker, 27, attended the culinary arts program at Johnson County Community College before graduating from the Scottsdale Culinary Arts Institute in Arizona. Before taking up his position at the InterContinental, Baker worked under chief Debbie Gold at the now-shuttered 40 Sardines and at the Maker's Mark Bourbon House & Lounge in the Power and Light District.

"I like making simple, clean food. I'm attracted to simple styles of cooking like Eric Ripert [celebrity chef at Le Bernadin in New York City] that highlight each ingredient," says Baker.

That starts with the new menu at the InterContinental, which just launched at the end of July.

"I would like to offer three to four menus a year, something to change with the season," says Baker.

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Seafood will be a popular choice on the new menu. Among the appetizers is seared togarashi ahi tuna on a fried rice cake with micro greens and wasabi butter. Baker also made it a point to select calamari steaks, rather than the tentacles or tubes, which are fried and served with a garlic, asiago, chives and chile cilantro sauce.

The entrees include barbecue salmon, crisp black cod and a brined pork chop (with housemade applesauce, roasted root vegetables and a cherry balsamic).  Customers might expect a new menu in mid-to-late November. The menu

isn't the only change to the hotel's restaurant. The Oak Room was

redone in March and now features a chef's table that seats 10 and is

available for semi-private dining.

On Thursday, Chef Baker shares his recipe for spicy grilled prawns

-- a version of the offering on the current menu, but suitable for

cooking at home.

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