In this week’s blog post, we want to introduce you to Richard Hoert, Curry Estate’s new Executive Chef. Rich joined us in August 2022, and we consider him part of our family. He is an award-winning chef who has been in the food service hospitality industry for 27 years, working at a variety of 5-star and 5-diamond restaurants, hotels, and resorts in New York, Florida, and Tennessee. Throughout his career, Rich has been recognized for his menu creativity and a commitment to best practices in the industry. We’re so lucky to have him here!
[Curry Estate] – Rich, when did you first know you wanted to become a chef?
[Rich] – While I was still in high school (here in Wappingers Falls), I got a job at the Stockyard as a dishwasher. After a few months, they trained me in food prep, and I eventually got the opportunity to become a line cook. After graduating from high school, I attended the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) here in Hyde Park. And the rest, as they say, is history.
[CE] – Take us through a typical day here.
[RH] – My top priority is getting ready for the night’s dinner. When I first arrive, I check our reservation log for the evening, then I review the food we have on line. I need to make sure that all the ingredients we want to use are fresh and meet our high standards for serving. And there are always dishes to prepare before dinner begins.
[CE] – If your 16-year-old self asked for some career advice and you only had a few minutes to give him your best tip, what would it be?
[RH] – Stay in school and learn as much as you can. Not just from textbooks, but from life in general. The more knowledge you take in, whether it’s through traveling, experiencing different cultures, or pursuing various interests and careers, the more your experiences will have a great influence on your creativity as a chef!
[CE] – Do you have a favorite dish you like to make?
[RH] – No one dish comes to mind, but my favorite style of cooking is sous vide. It’s a French cooking technique which translates to “under vacuum.” Food gets vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag and submerged in a regulated, low temperature water oven. High-end restaurants have used this technique for years because it’s a very precise and consistent way of cooking.
[CE] – How do you spend your days off?
[RH] – Well, for starters, I don’t do much cooking! My family is very important to me, so I spend a lot of time with them. I am also into computer building and really, anything having to do with technology. Right now, I am setting up a “smart home,” using Alexa and Google to manage equipment such as speaker systems and lighting.
[CE] – Here is the million-dollar question. What made you decide you wanted to work with us?
[RH] – There are several reasons, but the one I want to point out is the emphasis that you place on work/life balance. Hotel restaurants are often open seven days a week, and it’s common to work not only every weekend, but holidays as well. It’s easy to lose yourself. I came back to New York to live closer to my family, and because the restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, I actually have quality time to spend with them. This past Christmas was the first time I have had that day off in my entire career!
[CE] – Anything else you want to add?
[RH] – When I was growing up, Le Chambord was known as one of the best (and fanciest) restaurants around. If anyone had told me then that someday, I would be the executive chef here, I never would have believed them. My career really has come full circle!
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