Friend of Chugwater Chili Chef Steve Warren is the Banquet Chef of Nobel House Hotels and Resorts, a golf resort located in Naples Florida on the Gulf of Mexico where he is in charge of all banquet, catering and social functions at the resort. In our interview read about how Chef Warren found his calling, braved Hurricane Charlie, and of course learned about the versatility of Chugwater Chili.
Tell us how...you became a chef!
A few of my friends and myself have always been highly competitive, so at the end of high school, the 3 of us had landed jobs at the newest hotel to open in Itasca, Illinois - The Hamilton Hotel. We not only worked at the same place - we were all in the same kitchen! I was in charge of making pizzas and the other 2 were in the banquet kitchen. From there I really enjoyed learning how to cook and developed my passion. I was going to college at the time, but nothing interested me, so I dropped out and got invited to the culinary development program they were just starting. I graduated 2 years later and was promoted to Boston as a restaurant chef.
Pictured above Chef Warren's Watermelon feta with tarragon balsamic glaze and virgin olive oil.
What are you really good at?
I went to Boston as a restaurant chef not liking seafood too much. That all changed in less than a year. I spent 5 years in Boston and cooking seafood has been a big passion of mine, not to mention I met my (waitress) wife there and got married.
Pictured above Chef Warren's Sous vide duck breast, creamed corn, Parisienne potato with tamarind Demi glace.
How does it feel to be in the kitchen?
Growing up I have been a sports fanatic, especially football. I have organized my crew as a football team with me being the coach. I always envisioned the kitchen, crew and food production as that of a football team and field. I organized things kind of the same way. It really has made a difference in my life, as most kids want to be professional sports heroes, which I didn’t achieve. I was able to bring something that I love (football) and integrated with another thing I love, cooking, everyday .
Pictured above Chef Warren's Coconut rum oyster and spinach Rockefeller with panko Chugwater Chili Gourmet Chili Blend dusted crumbs.
What makes you a better chef?
I think it’s important to make work fun to an extent. It’s also important to really get to know the people whom you’re working with. This helps you positively motivate your cooks when they tire, or have a problem or need some cheering up. (Walk the walk!) Leading by example is also a great way to earn respect from your peers as well as your coworkers and cooks. Lastly communication is the key ingredient in being a chef .You can never have enough.There is no such thing as a dumb question.
Pictured above: Chef Warren's Onion soup dusted with Chugwater Chili Gourmet Chili Blend.
So Chef Steven Warren what's your favorite chef story?
One that comes to mind was when I was chef at Boca Marriott we had back to back hurricane come thru Jeanne and Charlie. This was Charlie that did damage. I was at the hotel taking care of the some 200 guests that were bracing for the storm to hit. For us our emergency stair wells were located outside the hotel. As the storm got closer, we lost electricity and had to chain down the front glass doors as the wind was pushing almost right through the glass doors!!! A few of us took it upon ourselves to get water to the guests that were stuck in the stairwell and hallways in the tower. We ended up making several trips. Then right in the middle of the storm we had to carry a wheelchair ridden guest outside then back into the hotel to safety, along with several other guests. The wind and trees, debris blowing, as well as the water getting in our eyes was unbelievable. Wood planks and sheet metal flew by us like leaves. After the storm the hotel had received extensive damage. We stayed all night then fed 3 meals to everyone starting in the morning for the next 2 days. After the storm had passed we checked and everyone was all right. It was the most frightening experience I have endured.
Pictured above: Chef Warren's Chicken tortilla soup seasoned with Chugwater Chili Gourmet Chili Blend. Find the recipe under "Recipes" on our website.
Finally, what do you like most about our Chugwater Chili seasoning?
I like Chugwater chili seasoning because as a chef it is very versatile. I use it in soups, ceviches, when I want to kick up condiments, and aiolis. It’s perfect to bring a little heat and flavor to your mojito or any cocktail you want a kick to. Chugwater chili spice can basically be used with anything you want to enhance anything you’re eating. I love it!!
Find out more about La Playa Beach and Golf Resort at http://www.laplayaresort.com/. Inspired by Chef Steve Warren's culinary creations? Buy your most versatile seasonings here and let us know how you enhance your food!