Sauce Magazine – Cinder House Chef Peter Slay’s Secret to Cooking Happiness
Cinder House Chef Peter Slay’s Secret to Kitchen Happiness
Ask Anyone: Chef Peter Slay is the happiest man in his kitchen. In fact, he might just be the happiest guy in all of the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis.
You might say, “Sure, he just got a huge promotion from being a sous chef at Cinder House to being a chef. But no; Peter Slay’s happiness is a hard-earned art form, and none of it is accidental.
As the chef at Cinder House, Chef Slay’s daily mission is for everyone to think he is the happiest man in the room, because like any great chef, he knows that happiness and satisfaction start at the top.
Being a chef for a luxury hotel is much more than cooking for the restaurant. Chef is also overseeing room service. And bar service. And pool service. And the spa cafe. And don’t forget private parties and events. It’s a big job for Chef Slay, but it’s also a big job for his staff, and he understands it.
Slay also understands how hard the last 18 months have been for all of us, but restaurant workers in particular. This gives him even more reason to maintain a positive attitude and for that energy to flow into the work environment of all staff.
One of the reasons this is so important to Slay is that he has personally experienced both negative and positive restaurant environments. While learning and improvement can happen anywhere, he’s pretty confident that a positive and supportive environment is the way to go.
Prior to starting Cinder House as a sous chef in 2018, Slay spent years working in a variety of kitchens – from barbecue and catering to world-famous fine dining. Locally, in his early days, Slay was mentored by chefs Kevin Nashan, Josh Galliano and Cary McDowell before moving to New York to work within celebrity chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurant empire at some of his New York restaurants. and in Boston.
While some cuisines were amazing, to some, Slay admits, “I was terrified of going to work some days. I think about it and I don’t want my cooks to ever feel that way.”
To keep both his energy and positivity high, Slay works out every morning and eats clean. With his busy schedule, he does this by preparing meals in advance and avoiding refined carbohydrates. One thing he’ll never skimp on, however, is the spices. “If I don’t sweat, it’s not good,” he said.
When it comes to the changes happening on the menu at Cinder House, Slay has only been making small tweaks here and there since he and consultant chef Gerard Craft redesigned the menu last year. “I firmly believe that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” he said.
However, when Slay makes changes, he likes to turn to old South American cookbooks and then add his own creative tricks. Some of the dishes that exemplify this are the Cinder House Sea Scallops, served with Peruvian huancaína sauce and coconut quinoa granola, and the Portuguese Orange Piri Chicken, which is topped with a frosting. spiced orange and served on a Brazilian cassava polenta.
“Chef Craft has always encouraged creativity in menu development,” Slay said. “And I intend to continue this tradition, encouraging our entire team to contribute. “
As for the future of Cinder House and the rest of the food and beverage entities at Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis, under the leadership of Peter Slay and Gerard Craft, it looks like only big things are on the horizon. .
“I’m very ambitious right now,” Slay said. “I want Cinder House to be the best restaurant in town.”