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?
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.