Juggling is Part of Chef Hadenfeld’s Normal Workday
More From Biltmore 06/04/13
Written By Leeann Donnelly
Imagine preparing and serving breakfast, a breakfast buffet, banquets, lunch and afternoon tea to hundreds of guests each day and managing ten employees. It’s sort of like juggling with many balls in the air, but Ryan Hadenfeld, Demi Chef at the Inn, says bring it on—he loves the challenge and the creativity.
“Creativity in the kitchen involves everyone and I try to foster that environment,” he says. “We like to create things our cooks want to cook, and they like the freedom. It never gets boring.”
Some of the recent creations offered by his cooking staff include a strawberry salad, flat bread made with naan and a red pepper coulee, and an asparagus and crab salad with truffle aioli. Yum!
Ryan is a fairly new Biltmore chef; he’s been here about six months. He started at the Bistro and recently transferred to the Inn. This is his first supervisory role.
“As a cook you work hard, make sure everything is prepped and keep your cool. Once you get into management, you do all that plus you must know human resources and organizational skills, and you have to look ahead. I love my job.”
Ryan occasionally works the omelet station in the mornings. He says everything is prepped and chopped each morning, and then guests pick their ingredients. About a third of the guests want a little bit of everything in their omelet, another substantial percentage only want ham and cheese. But he sees it all—one guest asked for smoked salmon, another for jalapenos, several request egg white omelets.
“It’s very cool to work the omelet station. We get immediate feedback and that’s great. Several guests have told me their omelets were the best they ever had,” he said.
Many of the eggs used for breakfast at the Inn come from heirloom chickens raised on the estate. Ryan says these chickens are raised in a natural setting and the eggs have deeper yokes, are richer and quite delicious.
A typical day for Ryan means he checks in with all his staff, making sure they have what they need. He creates special dishes and new menus depending on what’s fresh. He and his staff make their own sauces and pickles, cheese puffs, pate and butcher salmon and beef.
“My job is the sum of all the little parts—I make sure everyone does their job and I get whatever falls between the cracks,” says Ryan. “One day we were slammed at lunch and someone said they needed help checking on the tables, so I walked out and did that. It’s not what I normally do but we’re all a team here.”