Passion keeps Hunt Club Chef Brian Scheehser in the kitchen day in and day out. With the position of Executive Chef and a staff of 13, you’d think Brian might want to take a day off. This hard working chef isn’t resting on his laurels.
In fact, his calm, yet commanding demeanor befits more of the boy next door than the leader of the renowned Hunt Club kitchen.
Unlike many executive chefs, Scheehser is cooking every day. He oversees breakfast, lunch, and dinner. His latest menu is heavily influenced by culinary trends from both the Northwest and Mediterranean regions. Brian’s penchant to build a great fusion between the two was inspired by the Hotel itself – a Northwest institution with its architectural roots firmly rooted in the Mediterranean heritage of Seattle.
A student at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Scheehser specialized in garde manger: the preparation of cold stew, soups, salads, and pates terrines. At graduation, he was chosen to work with Chef Lucien Verge as an apprentice at Chicago’s L’Escargot. He remained for 11 years, and worked both in the front and the back of the house while running the dining room and bar operations along with off-premise catering.
Following L’Escargot, Brian became the Garde Manger Chef for Chicago’s Hotel Nikko restaurant. He later moved on to assist in opening the 4,000 seat ballroom as Banquet Chef at the Chicago Sheraton. Here he learned the meaning of “high volume.” The Sheraton’s ballroom was capable of serving 12,000 meals a day: a test in teamwork while maintaining high quality levels.
Scheehser then moved west to the Sorrento to serve as Banquet Chef where he revamped the menus to offer a more personal level of restaurant dining. Four years later, he was named Executive Sous Chef for Hunt Club, overseeing menu planning and operations, where he won a 2004 StarChefs.com Rising Stars Award.
Passion is what keeps the creative juices flowing and Scheehser also shares an intense passion for gardening. What began last year with a one-acre plot of land in Woodinville where he started his own vegetable and herb garden from seed, has expanded into two full acres this year. Through extensive reading and learning special techniques and secrets from area farmers, Brian has been able to grow organic produce for his restaurant. On any given day, the garden will dictate what appears on the daily lunch and dinner menus.
Scheehser revels in making soups and touts fresh fish as his favorite feast. “I like to keep the food simple, with fresh ingredients, and a good, strong blend of textures,” he explains. “Most food speaks for itself, and we really just need to be in the kitchen to assist in balancing and mixing its flavors.”
Scheehser has also appeared on numerous television programs, and teaches classes around the Seattle area.