Named Best Local Chef by Rochester Magazine, we wanted to talk with Chris Hodapp about what the award means to him, who he admires in town, and what his favorite midnight snack is.
What does it mean to you being named Best Local Chef by Rochester Magazine?
Being in a city like Rochester where there’s so much talent, so many different restaurants, a barrage of so many good chefs in the city, it’s very humbling to be named to the top five. To come out on top of that, it’s kind of mind blowing. There are so many good people in this town, I look at the list this year, and to be one of the only banquet chefs on that list is awesome.
What other restaurants do you enjoy in town? Who do you admire, and where do you like to eat?
I enjoy Chester’s and Pescara a lot, Canadian Honker. As far as who I look up to, Derek Jensen from Chester’s, and Bill Eisenberg at the Country Club.
Rochester eaters in three phrases:
People want to eat fresh, want to see local products, and a lot of people are becoming foodies, so they expect high quality.
Best thing about being a chef?
Getting to work with the clients. You meet so many different people, whether it’s bride and grooms, directors of non-profit organizations, everyone has a different taste, a different feel for what they want for their dinners, their banquets, and that’s one of the most unique things about this job.
Where do you find inspiration?
A lot is online, looking at different menus others are doing, putting my own twists on them, and a lot of it is research and development, thinking of different flavor profiles and how they’ll fit together.
Three pantry staples you can’t live without:
Butter, salt and pepper, and a protein.
What are some current culinary trends you enjoy:?
Fresh ingredients, local ingredients, being sustainable.
Any trends you are not a fan of?
I’ve never been a fan of the whole molecular gastronomy thing. To put it into what we do day in and day out, it just doesn’t work.
Name a cooking idol you strive to be like.
I always thought I would end up like Paul Prudhomme, the way he is in the kitchen, the way his culinaryness is, I always see myself ending up like him…the same cooking style and the same demeanor in the kitchen, I think that’s the guy I want to end up like.
Favorite dish to make on the job: A nice roasted prime rib, or tenderloin
Favorite food to make at home: Mexican
Most underrated ingredient: Salt
Favorite midnight snack: Warm chocolate chip cookie
Favorite music to cook to: Country
Favorite meal to cook: Dinner
Cooking style: Classic French with a modern twist
Food you don’t like to eat: Blue cheese
Kale, yay or nay: Yay!