Not All Food is Created Equal

When you ask an award winning chef, “what’s your favorite meal?”, you might have high expectations for the answer.

However, if you ask Renaissance’s Executive Chef Andrew Ihasz, he’ll answer quite simply, “a perfectly cooked steak.”

“That’s it? What about the spices and herbs, or garnish?”

Chef Andrew then explained that a meal can only be as good as the ingredients you make it with. You have to start with only the best and then you can create something extraordinary, but a chef is only as good as quality of food he starts with. You bring the best flavors out of what you work with, it’s not just adding spices and herbs and garnishes.

That’s why Chef Andrew is where he is. He understands food in a way most other people can’t. It was no surprise when the Gold Medal Plates invited Executive Chef Andrew for their elite cooking competition this past October. Nor was it a surprise when his team wowed over 900 people at the Feastival of Fine Chefs just weeks before. Even amongst the top chefs in the city his hard work, creativity, and finished product stands out.

The Gold Medal Plates competition is one of the most prestigious cooking competitions in the country. The ‘invite only’ event gathers already proven top chefs in every major Canadian city to crown a regional, and eventually a nationwide, winner. This year, Chef Andrew was officially the only Hotel Banquet Chef invited, something we are very proud of at The Renaissance Hotel. His experience in the industry is second to none.

Chef Andrew has been working in kitchens since he was 15 years old, and when he wasn’t, he spent his summers lobster fishing off the coast of Nova Scotia. His passion for creating dishes that simply WOW the senses goes back to his world class training at the Culinary Institute of Canada in Prince Edward Island.

Since graduating in 1992 he’s worked around the world, rarely straying from his passion for the challenge that come with luxury hotels. He began as Demi Chef de Partie at Zurich Hilton International in Switzerland and along the way moved to high positions within Fairmont Properties in the Caymen Islands and Bermuda. In 2006 Chef Andrew began his journey north when he was appointed Executive Sous Chef of The Fairmont San Francisco. Eventually he settled in Edmonton and after six years at The Fairmont Hotel MacDonald he joined the opening team of Renaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel in 2014.

Chef Andrew competed for years in the Grand Cayman as a member of the National Cayman Islands Culinary Team, but since returning to Canada, the Gold Medal Plates was the only competition Chef attended. This year was his third invitation after representing the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald in 2008 and 2011.

While there was no podium finish this year, Chef Andrew was excited to be back in the competition field surrounded by so many other talented chefs after a long break. He represented himself and the hotel by creating a gorgeous sichuan pepper roasted boar loin with potato straw, pickled radish, and truffle quail egg dish.

On a daily basis Chef Andrew and his team work one on one with sales coordinators, meeting planners, and bridal parties to ensure that every guest is taken care of, whether it’s 10 clients in a conference room or 300 wedding guests in the Cartier Ballroom. He works to bring the finest quality of food to the Renaissance kitchen, and crafts plates and buffet lines unlike any other banquet kitchen in the city. Whether you’re looking for a luxury seated dinner, an extravagant buffet, or creative passed h'orderves, booking with Chef Andrew and the team at Renaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel means you’re guaranteed to discover a meal that WOWs your audience.