It is a long way to go from a small upstate New York family farm to one of New York City’s better known restaurants, but one guest chef visiting Puerto Vallarta, Mexico has done just that.
Kaiser Maximilian Restaurant is featuring Executive Chef Daniel Eardley during the 21st International Festival Gourmet that runs November 16 to 22, 2015. Awesome chefs from all over the world descend on PV at the event’s participating restaurants and hotels. Andreas Rupprechter, owner of Kaiser Maximilian, will also be hosting Executive Pastry Chef Tara Glick both work at American Cut in New York City.
“I was a picky eater growing up,” says Daniel, “I was not all that fond of my mother’s cooking so I started experimenting in the kitchen when I was really young.” His first job gave him valuable lessons.
He started as a dishwasher at a restaurant in his hometown, which he says still does not have a traffic light, and worked his way up for five years. The owner was a classically, German trained chef and he gave Daniel what amounted to as an apprenticeship. “He showed me everything about cooking, developing recipes and running a kitchen,” says Daniel, “he believed in me. I had a good work ethic, which he helped develop and he created a dossier for me and was like a father figure, but I moved on to other things.”
He started college as a business major but soon decided that accounting and other similar classes were just not for him and he moved to Lake Tahoe and chased the pipe dream of becoming a professional snowboarder. “I just wanted to keep going downhill faster,” laughs Daniel, “I started out snow skiing and switched to snowboarding because if was easier on my knees.” He was taking time while he was young to find himself and explore his options.
Daniel realized he liked working with food and remembered that his German mentor said that it was possible to make a career in the kitchen. This was the early 1990s a bit before the Food Network launched all its super star chefs. The idea was a bit of uncharted territory to him but he took to it like a black diamond ski run.
He attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and graduated with honors in 1996 and his food journey continues to this day. His first job was in Napa Valley, California at Michael Chiarello’s Tra Vigne. From there, he traveled throughout the valley and San Francisco working for free to learn as much as he could about the industry. He also realized that his short time in business classes would help him greatly in the future.
Daniel returned to New York and worked for Larry Forgione at American Place for several years. Then he left to open Washington Park also in New York under mentor Jonathan Waxman. After its closing, Daniel traveled around Mexico and Europe before returning to New York for consulting work and finally opened his farm to table restaurant in Brooklyn called Chestnut. After a decade Daniel closed his restaurant and reunited with the Forgione family at American Cut. He has had a chance to redefine the traditional, classic steakhouse to a more modern, seasonal version. He will now share some of his expertise in Puerto Vallarta.
“A former Kaiser Maximilian guest chef is an acquaintance of mine and he sells a restaurant app called Shoebox and that’s how we met,” says Daniel, “we hang out every now and then and he’s a really cool guy and he called out of the blue one day to ask me what I was doing in November.” From there the spot was secured for his trip south of the border.
“This is going to give me a good chance to communicate in Spanish,” says Daniel, “I also think it will be very cool because we can create a synergy in the kitchen and it will give me the chance to do something completely different and work with people that I do not know.” He has never been to Puerto Vallarta but looks forward to a culinary giant of a week.
He will delight the clients with his wide variety of cooking styles and some of his dishes will include: Oysters with wasabi cucumber mignonette and caviar, sweet potato agnolotti with sage and pumpkin seed vinaigrette, cowboy pork chop, potato mille feuille and bone marrow gremolata, plus many other surprises.
Don’t forget to make your reservations for Wednesday, November 18, 2015, because it is the night of the chef’s table, New American Cuisine six-course dinner with wine pairings at the restaurant and the cost is $1400 pesos.