Chef Doug Knopp is the Executive Chef of the Chateau on the Lake. Prior to working at the Chateau, Chef Knopp worked at the Four Seasons for twelve years.
Chef’s word on food in the Ozarks — he has really found that the Ozarks is a great place to come for meetings. Pricing in the Midwest is much less than the prices of the coasts. The friendliness of the people and their willingness to help makes the difference. People are very concerned with technique and making sure the food is fresh. The quality of the food is the number one priority of the Chateau.
1. What is the most interesting dish you have prepared for a convention group?
At another location, I prepared a “human buffet” for a golf tournament. Tables were set up at specific holes on the golf course. When golfers came to the buffet, all of the dishes were covered. There was a human sculpture (an actual woman lying down!) made out of fruit covered with grapes and pineapples and other fruits. Hidden under one of the plate covers was the head of the general manager!
2. What trends do you see in the meetings/conventions f&b business?
Healthy options—not just a few vegetarian plates per meal. Gluten-free, peanut-free and other allergies have raised the bar, forcing chefs to be more prepared to handle food allergies. Hotel restaurants have to be open and able to serve guests with special dietary needs. Farm-to-plate meals and sustainable foods are trends. The Chateau uses sustainable pork from Circle B Ranch.
Pictured below is the Chateau’s balsamic blueberry salad with feta cheese and candied walnuts. Chef Knopp let me try some and it was AMAZING! The sweetness of the blueberries, mixed with the tartness of the vinaigrette and the saltiness of the feta cheese was divine!
3. What is your specialty dish?
I love to work with fresh sea food. There is such a huge difference between farmed salmon and the salmon we provide that is from Iceland. The texture of our salmon, compared to farm-raised salmon, is absolutely amazing.
4. Why is your venue great for group meals?
The Chateau works very hard to try to bring food directly from the oven to the table for the banquet guests so food isn’t sitting for a long time before it is served. Radio communication is used to bring the freshest food possible.
Below is a photo of the mustard-braised beef short ribs with sweet potato hash, topped with sarsaparilla air. This dish was even more delicious!
5. What dish has been a crowd-pleaser?
Chicken picatta—old-style chicken with fresh parmesan and buttermilk bread crumbs seared off with creamy Alfredo sauce and penne pasta. We try to choose dishes that will please the most guests.
6. Does your venue participate in the farm-to-fork dining trend? If so, how?
Yes—we provide a lot of sustainable products and organic products. Working with sustainable products requires chefs to use the entire animal to cook—not just pieces. Whenever it is possible to use sustainable products, we definitely go to the farm to get products. A lot of people don’t realize that the food comes from farmers. I try to take the cooks out to a sustainable farm once a year to see how pork is produced and have lunch there.
Visit http://www.chateauonthelake.com/ for more information on the Chateau on the Lake or call 888-333-5253.