Hyatt hires new chef
Ryan Summerlin December 7, 2012
A new executive chef is taking over the Hyatt Escala Lodge (delete)s restaurant,delete (Hyatt) Escala Provisions Company, and with him, he brings a brand new menu.
With upscale ingredients and a down-to-earth approach to the food, Executive Chef Jesse McDannell, 31, is incorporating familiar classics such as macaroni and cheese with a touch of high-end flair, using smoked gouda, pancetta and roasted chicken in the dish. Even the braised lamb, a favorite at the restaurant, is about combining comfort and class.
McDannell has been with Hyatt for seven years, and in that time has worked in nine major Hyatt properties in four cities. Working his way up the ladder in that time, this is the first Hyatt property McDannell is running on his own.
"When I was told I would have the opportunity to make this operation my own, the autonomy to design and create the menu and ultimately the success of the operation, the feeling I had was incredible. For a second it felt like I had to gasp for air. I told myself, ‘OK this is it. This is what you’ve worked for.’ I consider it a great honor, at my age, to have been given this opportunity".
But McDannell has been around the business since he was six years old and his grandfather opened his own restaurant in New York.
"I think that at the end of day, it is all about passion," he added. "Someone who loves what they do will put the time and effort in I wake up every day and look forward to coming to work, and I make sure my team understands that as well. That’s what is reflected in the food."
Working in every type of restaurant in Philadelphia, where he studied culinary arts and graduated Summa Cum Laude, he has tested out brew pub style food and gourmet restaurants, but ultimately found his niche in hotels.
From group business at the hotel to guests staying overnight to condominium owners at the property, McDannell is responsible for several moving parts at the property beyond the restaurant.
"We serve anyone in house, whether that’s a hotel guest or owner," Said Barbara Dennis, the director of sales and marketing. "What we’ve found, especially at Thanksgiving, word is getting out about the value. Locals have started to embrace this as their family restaurant."
The Hyatt Escala Lodge offers in-room and banquet dining, a marketplace with fresh coffee and pastries and the full service restaurant and bar, which seats up to 65 people.
The restaurant serves a breakfast, Après ski happy hour and dinner.