Friday - May 23, 2008 Share Del.icio.us | Podcast | WineAndDineHawaii.com
Daniel LaGarde is the executive chef at Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa. As he is used to making meals by the thousands, we wondered what he cooks at home and what inspired him to enter the challenging world of food.
Age: Old enough to vote.
Where were you born and raised? Quebec, Canada.
What sparked your interest in the culinary world? My dad was a chef/owner of several restaurants and my uncle was a hotelier.
Your first job in the industry? At about 4 years old I helped out in my uncle’s catering business by handing out plates to wedding guests at the start of the buffet line.
When did you come to Hawaii? I had been working in Chicago for five very long winters as executive chef at the Palmer House. The opportunity to work in sunny Hawaii was very appealing.
You work with tremendous numbers at Hilton Hawaiian Village - feeding thousands of people a day - and yet you still have a reputation as one of the most calm and easy-to-work-with chefs in town. How do you do it?
I do oversee a culinary operation that includes outdoor- and indoor-catered functions, several restaurants, room service and a staff of 140 wonderful people, but the trick is to keep a positive attitude and stay organized. There’s a great culinary team at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Part of our success lies in empowering people to do their best work.
Favorite place to eat when you’re not at work? Side Street Inn.
What do you order there? Pork chops, fried rice, poke and won ton.
Do you cook at home? Yes, my wife, Susan, and children Claudia and Julian love it when I get behind the grill.
What do you cook for them? They love seafood pasta and grilled sea salt-and-herb-crusted ribeye.
Always in your fridge? Cheese, olives, homemade pesto and yogurt.
Mentors? My late grandmother, Germaine, who taught me at a very young age the value of life.
With whom would you most like to have dinner? Princess Diana.
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