Interview with Executive Chef Steve De Barril of Seasons 52 Biltmore
Seasons 52 known for its seasonally-inspired, figure-friendly cuisine recently named Steve De Barril the Executive Chef Partner at their Biltmore location. Chef Steve isn’t new to the restaurant – he served as the sous chef of the Seasons 52 at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California and was promoted for his outstanding leadership.
Hailing from a small town of only 2,000 residents in the Gold Country Foothills of Central California, Chef Steve learned early on of the importance of building relationships with consumers to create repeat business. Dave Cully, Seasons 52 West Coast Operations Director, describes Chef Steve as an “exceptional professional” and says “his unique management style inspires his teammates to strive for only the best”.
Chef Steve, formally trained at the California School of Culinary Arts, Le Cordon Bleu, brings a fresh, yet polished, energetic vibe to the Seasons 52 kitchen and displays a remarkable sense of professionalism to his guests.
Recently, I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions for an interview and he gave some fantastic answers.
Meet Chef Steve De Barril:
Amy Martin: When creating new dishes where do you find inspiration?
Chef Steve De Barril: I am inspired by each season and what “mother nature” shares with us. Growing up in Jamestown, a small community in the Gold Country Foothills of Central California, just east of San Francisco, I was also inspired by the surrounding local farmers and the fresh produce each harvest would bring . That’s why working for Seasons 52 is a perfect fit for me as a chef. Seasons 52 is seasonally inpsired and uses ingredients at the peak of their flavor. We also prepare each dish without butters, heavy creams. Using natural cooking methods like brick ovens and wood fire grills, we simply let the food speak for itself.
Amy: What is your personal favorite dish on the menu?
Chef Steve: Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Creamy herbed polenta – tastes like there’s ton of butter, but there’s not a single ounce of it! It’s creamy and tasty beyond belief and reminds me of childhood comfort food.
Amy: At the beginning of your career, who were some major influences?
Chef Steve: I’ve been exposed to kitchens as long as I can remember. As a child I watched my mother in the kitchen who loved to bake and my father who loved to grill. While in elementary school, my mother worked in a restaurant where I would often run through their kitchen eating homemade bread and fondue.
When I became old enough to legally hold a job, I worked in a hotel under a “real chef”. He showed me how to develop a unique skill set using my senses. He had faith in me and I started making dishes from scratch in no time. He was like a hero to me; like a culinary rock star. Today, I am still using the fundamentals of using my senses as I prepare the dishes for our guests at Seasons 52. You can bet you’re only getting the freshest ingredients on your plate.
Amy: If you could have an unlimited supply of any ingredient which would it be?
Chef Steve: Eggs. They are a natural super food and are a great source of protein. It’s extremely versatile so there are endless possibilities to what you can make with them. You make pasta dough with it, it’s a natural glue for pastries, you can make custards with them, which is also the base for ice cream.
Amy: 5 ingredients that are always in your home kitchen/pantry?
- Yogurt, I eat it everyday
- Good oils for cooking with and finishing dishes
- A good hot sauce like Franks or Cholula
- Eggs, of course
- A seasonal fruit, whatever nature has decides to make perfect at that moment.
Amy: What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten?
Chef Steve: I can’t pinpoint a single best meal ever. I really do enjoy any homemade meal prepared for me. Most people are afraid to cook for a chef, but, when friends or family do cook and they cook with passion (like food deserves)… it’s typically a great meal. Any “family recipe”, or something created from scratch from someone who loves to cook, is what makes a meal great and memorable.
At Seasons 52, I take great pride and am honored in knowing that so many families and friends choose to dine with us for THEIR special occasion. I do everything I can to make sure they walk away with great memories of their celebration with loved ones, and the great tasting food that helped make their night complete.
Amy: On a usual night off, where could you be found when you’re not cooking?
Chef Steve: Taking my dogs to the local dog park for a fun afternoon when the weather allows, hiking the local mountains and trails around Phoenix (sometimes bringing the dogs too), meeting new friends while exploring my new “hometown” of Phoenix and all it has to offer, and cooking together with my girlfriend, keeping it simple to enjoy the company.
Amy: Care to share any kitchen tips?
Chef Steve: Hands down the key to any successful dish is fresh, quality ingredients. I think the reason why some people are afraid of the kitchen is because they over-think it. Keep the food simple and highlight the fresh flavors and you can’t go wrong.
For more information about Seasons 52, visit seasons52.com.
Seasons 52 | 2502 E Camelback Rd Suite 140, Bldg J |Phoenix, AZ | 602-840-5252