Meet New Meydenbauer Center Executive Chef Steven Banbury

We are thrilled to welcome new Executive Chef Steven Banbury to the Meydenbauer Center team! Chef Banbury brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the culinary world to Meydenbauer Center’s catering team. Combining unique, modern culinary techniques with more traditional practices, Chef Banbury’s profound understanding of gastronomic trends coupled with his diverse skillset have brought an exciting flair to Meydenbauer Center’s catering capabilities. Continue reading to learn more about our newest superstar in the kitchen.

What is your name?

Steven Banbury.

Where are you from?

I’m from a small town south-west of Chicago called Oswego, Illinois.

What led you to work in Bellevue at Meydenbauer Center?

The opportunity to work with a highly functional team and freedom to create dishes to match the minds wildest imagination.

Tell us about your job.

I have the most amazing job, I get to work every day with an amazing team of chefs. We collaborate to create crave-able, mouthwatering and visually intriguing entrées and desserts.

What is your best achievement in life?

Not heeding the advice of teachers and friends who said cooking is not a career and following my artistic passions to get me to this point in my career.

Why did you decide to become a chef? What other positions in the kitchen have you held?

Growing up I was surrounded by amazing food. Both my Oma, German for “grandmother”, and mother were both excellent cooks. I quickly grew a passion for food and started cooking for friends and family. I knew this is what I was meant to do for the rest of my life when I saw their eyes light up and their smiles widen after taking their first bites. I have held every position in the kitchen from prep cook, line cook, jr. sous, sous chef, executive chef, and of course my favorite: executive dishwasher. Anyone who has spent any amount of time in the kitchen knows all about the last one.

Where and how were you trained?

I studied classical French and world cuisine at the California School of Culinary Arts.

What is the best thing about being in the food industry?

There is one great, simple truth about the food industry…. You will never go hungry!

What is the best cooking advice you have ever received?

Never stop learning; we are students for life. There is always another skill to learn or a cuisine from the far reaches of the globe to master.

Who or what is the biggest inspiration for your cooking style?

My cooking style is a blend of tradition first, mixed with contemporary culinary trends and techniques.

What is your favorite cuisine to cook?

Texas deep pit BBQ!

If you could have dinner with one other person (dead or alive) who would it be?

I would have dinner with my Oma. I only ever got to cook for her once before she passed away. I would share with her everything I have learned through a story of dishes throughout the evening.

What aspect of your job makes you happiest?

The amazing culinary staff I get to work with every day.

How is your role at Meydenbauer Center different than your previous roles in other organizations?

As a creative chef we always love to work in a Michelin star restaurant, but the world is changing. Our guests at Meydenbauer Center expect local and natural raw products of the highest quality. I have the privilege to serve those items at Meydenbauer Center. Our guests and their pallets change daily, allowing me to embark on many culinary journeys. It makes life exciting having a different menu every night.

The Pacific North West is really one of the birthplaces to American craft food and beverage products (Starbucks, craft breweries, artisan cheeses, and great wine).  I get to leverage my passion for quality in an organization that gives me the green light to use the best product available; I’ve been granted the ability to be a culinary innovator. My mission is to change the way people think about convention center or hotel food.

I believe in a truly “from scratch” Kitchen; nothing in our kitchen resembles common “institutional foodservice”. From stocks and sauces to freshly baked pastries, we pride ourselves on always providing great products without taking any shortcuts.  Our guests are very food forward, and they expect and deserve the best.

When I am not at Meydenbauer Center crafting menus and designing new menu plates, I brew beer and smoke deep pit BBQ. My hobbies, passions, and career all seamlessly mesh together; I believe when you are truly passionate about something it becomes part of your lifestyle.

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Meydenbauer Center Catering – Spring Fresh Menu

Head chef Steven Banbury’s inspiration for the Spring Fresh menu is fresh ingredients with vibrant colors.  Local northwest ingredients are an absolute must, bringing freshness and excitement to our guests. He wants to craft visually stunning dishes that make your palate reach umami bliss with the first bite.

Baby Gem Salad

The northwest Caesar dressing is made with house smoked salmon instead of anchovies bringing a deep rich flavor. The sourdough crisps are thin shaved homemade sourdough lightly seasoned with sea salt to add a crunch. And, the key factor that really makes this salad stand apart: rich, creamy and decadent parmesan mousse.

Grilled Seasonal Vegetables

The inspiration behind this platter was to showcase the bounty of color and life spring brings. After a grey winter, the fresh vibrant vegetables found on this platter will be sure to please.

Tomato Basil Soup

This rich and creamy tomato soup is deceiving and plays tricks on your palate. You would claim that there was cream in the soup, in actuality the creamy textures are coming from rice. This soup is perfect for our dairy-free and vegan guests.

Pan-seared Wild Salmon

What is more northwest than the wild Pacific salmon with its vibrant pink flesh cooked to perfection? The green papaya slaw brings, enlivens, and refreshes the palate. The mango relish lends a sweet note that ties the whole dish together.

Parmesan Crusted Halibut

This dish screams spring with its bright green spring pea puree and the vibrant reds of the fire blistered cherry tomatoes and piquillo peppers. The star of the show is the halibut with its buttery complexity and the crisp crunch of the parmesan crust, along with the underlining notes of citrus from the beurre blanc. The dish is finally topped with a seaweed and micro green salad.

Pink Peppercorn Crusted Strip Loin

The mild spice from the peppercorns plays against the sweet Japanese yams. The roasted spring asparagus and cipollini onions play a supporting role to the “melt in your mouth” strip loin. The dish is topped with a rich pinot noir demi and finished with crispy tobacco onions.

Lemon Rosemary Cake

This dessert is all about simplicity. Three flavors that stand alone but when combined create a beautiful harmony. Like the great Paul McCartney said, if you are using more than three chords you are trying too hard.

To view the full Spring Fresh lunch and dinner menus, click here. If you would like to learn all about Meydenbauer Center’s event catering services, click here.

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Meydenbauer Center Catering – February Ingredient of the Month

Kumquats are an amazing winter fruit – they pack a punch of Vitamin C to get you through the cold, rainy months. The entire fruit is edible, peel and all. The skin is a bit sweeter than the pulpy flesh, so eating them whole gives them a balanced flavor. Organic and locally sourced Kumquats often produce the best flavors.

“The skin is super sweet and the flesh is actually quite tart; it’s like the Warhead of the fruit world.” – Executive Chef Steven Banbury

Tips for selecting the perfect kumquat:

  • Look for kumquats with a vibrant orange color; avoid ones with yellowish green hues as they indicate that the kumquat was harvested prematurely
  • Skin should be tight to the fruit’s flesh with minimal separation
  • Organic and locally sourced kumquats are typically the best choice


Dark Chocolate Pate

1 lb dark chocolate (the better the chocolate, the better the pate)
1 cup heavy cream
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup powdered sugar
4 Tbsp real vanilla extract

Semisweet Chocolate Pate

1 lb semisweet chocolate (the better the chocolate, the better the pate)
1 cup heavy cream
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup powdered sugar
4 Tbsp real vanilla extract

White Chocolate Pate

1 lb semisweet chocolate (the better the chocolate, the better the pate)
1 cup heavy cream
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup powdered sugar
4 Tbsp real vanilla extract

Kumquat Marmalade

2 ¼ cups kumquats
1 cup sugar
1 lemon zested and juiced
1 cup water
1 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary

Candied Kumquat Wheels

1 1/8  inch sliced kumquat wheels
½ cup sugar
1 tsp kosher salt


Triple Chocolate Pate

  • In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, melt chocolate with cream and butter. Beat with a wire whisk until smooth and glossy.
  • Remove from heat and add yolks, one at a time, beating well after each.
  • Add powdered sugar, whisking constantly until smooth. Mix in vanilla.
  • Butter a loaf pan. Put waxed paper or plastic wrap in a pan, leaving overhang, and butter sides and bottom of the lining. Pour dark chocolate pate mixture first, place into the freezer and allow to slightly harden while making semisweet chocolate pate.
  • Remove pan from freezer and pour semisweet chocolate pate and place in freezer to set up while preparing white chocolate pate.
  • Remove pan from freezer and pour white chocolate pate and place in the freezer, cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.

Kumquat Marmalade

Place all ingredients in a pot. Place on stovetop over medium-high heat and bring mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium; cook and stir occasionally for 10 minutes. Continuing cooking and stirring often until mixture is thick enough so that if you scrape a spatula across the bottom of the pan, you can briefly see the bottom of the pan before marmalade spreads back out.

Candied Kumquat Wheel

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Mix salt and sugar in a mixing bowl
  • Toss kumquat wheels lightly until completely coated with sugar-salt mixture
  • Lay kumquat wheels onto a greased piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or till sugar caramelizes


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