|Chef Chris Hall is back where he started|
Hall worked at the Ritz-Carlton as garde manger under former executive chef Michael Fallacara before going on to the Hyatt Regency Crown Center, serving as executive sous chef.
"It really is a homecoming and I'm thrilled to be back," says the 39-year-old Minneapolis native. "I love this hotel."
Hall checked in as executive chef on November 17 and has been busy
re-doing the banquet menus at the four-star hotel and plans to
introduce his first menu for its only restaurant, The Oak Room,
in mid-January. Hall also plans to tinker with the Sunday breakfast buffet.
The property still had two restaurants -- the Cafe and the top-floor Grill -- back when Hall worked for the Ritz-Carlton; the celebrated Grill restaurant was later closed and turned into a private banquet space for weddings and special events. When Hall began working in hotels, he says, executive chefs were primarily administrators. "In smaller boutique hotels, an executive chef actually cooked about ten percent of the time. That's changed now. The economy and the way that hoteliers run their companies have changed that. I'm cooking for at least 30 percent of the time, which is what I prefer to do. I'm very hands-on and I'm always in the kitchen on Friday and Saturday nights."
Hall describes his cooking style as "essentially very simple."
"I'm more interested in bringing out the natural of flavors of food rather than being too fussy and elaborate," he says. He is, however, one of the few executive chefs who still bakes wedding cakes for his clients. "We have recently hired a pastry chef," Hall says, "but I'll still create cakes for clients who want them."