Chef Sean Hardy of The Belvedere at The Peninsula Beverly Hills - Los Angeles Rising Star on

Photo Credit: Jon Deshler

Sean Hardy
The Belvedere at the Peninsula Hotel
9882 South Santa Monica Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 551-2888

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Antoinette Bruno: Why did you start cooking? What or who inspired you to become a chef?
Sean Hardy: I started cooking at 15 at my father’s girlfriend’s restaurant and loved it. I love the energy, emotion and passion that is involved. Pretty soon after I started cooking, I realized I loved it and was pretty good at it as well.

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Sean Hardy

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 years.

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.

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Interview Cont'd
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 backgrounds?
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 them?
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 kitchen tool?
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 cookbooks?
SH: A Return to Cooking by Eric Ripert.

AB: What cities do you like for culinary travel?
SH: Hands down, New York and San Francisco.

AB: What are your favorite restaurants – off the beaten path – in Los Angeles?
SH: Nook, Hungry Cat and AOC.

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.



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   Published: May 2006