THE BELVEDERE AT THE PENINSULA HOTEL | Los Angeles
Sean Hardy, a Boston native, brings a little bit of east
coast inspiration to Beverly Hills with his menus at The Belvedere
restaurant. For the better part of a decade, Hardy has made a home
for himself at The Peninsula Beverly Hills overseeing all service
for food and beverage outlets within the hotel including The Belvedere,
The Living Room, The Roof Garden, The Club Bar, Private Events and
Room Service. His dedication has provided The Belvedere continued
success garnering the AAA Five Diamond Award for 12 consecutive
Hardy trained and graduated with high honors at The Culinary Institute
of America in New York City. Through his education, he brought extensive
managerial experience to The Peninsula Beverly Hills. During his
hiatus from the hotel, he held a series of prestigious culinary
positions including: executive sous chef at the Four Seasons Hotel
in Palm Beach, Florida, lead chef instructor of the New England
Culinary Institute, and executive chef of The Lodge at Koele in
Lanai City, Hawaii, which was rated Top Resort in the Pacific by
Condé Nast Traveler.
Hardy, who considers himself a purist in terms of ingredients,
hopes to continue The Peninsula’s excellent culinary tradition.
“It’s about refinement of flavors and presentation of
textures—things we’ve been doing for a while,”
he explained. His signature dishes include California Duck Liver
“Hot and Cold” with Apples “Three Ways;”
“Beef Two Ways,” which includes Pan Roasted Kobe Style
Rib Eye and Braised Beef Short Ribs; Five Spiced Peking Duck with
Calabaza Squash, Golden Raisins and Cinnamon Sauce; Maine Lobster
Pot Pie, and Seared Tasmanian Salmon.
AB: You attended The
Culinary Institute of America. Would you recommend culinary school
to aspiring chefs today? Do you only hire chefs with culinary school
SH: Three quarters of my staff
are culinary school graduates, but schools don’t prepare students
for the reality of the kitchen. I taught at NECI and have been there.
NECI puts every student in the kitchen 60 percent of the time; there
are lectures the remaining time. It’s trial by fire. NECI
kids have no misconceptions.
AB: Who are your mentors? What
are some of the most important things you’ve learned from
SH: Daniel Boulud really inspired
me. I worked in his kitchen for only one week, and he taught me
respect for the product, the best way to prepare it, and the best
things to accompany it.
AB: What is your philosophy
on food and dining?
SH: You never want to have
more than three prevailing elements on a plate. You want it to be
simplistic but decadent. You’re showcasing the best ingredients
in their best light.
AB: Are there any secret ingredients
that you especially like?
SH: Black cardamom, but you
need to use it with stronger preparations. It’s more pungent
but earthy and floral.
AB: What is your most indispensable
SH: Dynamic hand blenders for
the aeration of sauces.
AB: What is your favorite question
to ask during an interview for a potential new line cook?
SH: Why did you get into this
profession? What do you love about this profession?
AB: What tips would you offer
young chefs just getting started?
SH: I would let any newcomer
know that this is not a forgiving business and you will disappoint
friends, family and loved ones because of what is needed to succeed.
Too many cooks come out of school now saying they don't want to
work weekends, nights and holidays, and I tell them they need to
change their outlook or they will not be successful and then become
miserable in the process. They don't understand the dues and commitment
you have to pay to succeed.
AB: What are your favorite
Return to Cooking by Eric Ripert.
AB: What cities do you like
for culinary travel?
SH: Hands down, New York and
AB: What are your favorite
restaurants – off the beaten path – in Los Angeles?
SH: Nook, Hungry Cat and
AB: What trends do you see
emerging in the restaurant industry now?
SH: I really see the industry
going for purity, whether it is the presentation or the ingredients.
It is becoming all about the pure flavors, which I love seeing.
AB: Where do you see yourself
in 5 to 10 years?
SH: I really want to stay in
the hotel business at a Five-Star and Five-Diamond, but a larger
operation, so I can really spread my wings.