Chef Felix Nappoly of Hyatt Regency Century Plaza: “We Are Cutting Edge, Innovative, and Creative”
The allure of palm trees and a warm breeze is enough to entice anyone from the chilly concrete pavements of the East Coast to the sunny skies in the West.
When you’re at a conference, however, all you can do is look longingly at the pool and take one long inhale — breathing in the scent of a prolonged summer — on your short walk from the cab through the hotel’s revolving door.
The outdoor patio is a place where palm trees and blossoms abound and good food is served in style. After enjoying a delicious lunch of shrimp avocado gazpacho, chicken chili, and fish tacos we spoke with the man in charge, chef Felix Nappoly, about how he runs his kitchen.
The Daily Meal: What sets your menu apart from other hotel restaurants?
Chef Felix Nappoly: So many times, hotel restaurants follow menus that are tailored to corporate standards. There can be a lack of creativity and innovation in developing the menu and there can be directive to use certain vendors. We have the freedom to create menus that are true to our chefs’ experiences while only featuring ingredients that are in season from local purveyors. We are cutting edge, innovative, and creative and change our menus multiple times a year.
What did you take into consideration when designing this menu?
We want to create a unique experience for travelers and locals alike that will evolve over time. We are adaptable and can modify menus based on what is selling and what is not. We were the first to introduce an all-vegan menu, then we were the first to offer an all-Paleo menu.
We look at trends and see what we can do to attract more customers while serving dishes that meet the dietary needs of all.
What is your favorite dish to make on the menu right now?
The pan roasted seabass with butternut squash and parsnip purée, heirloom tomato jam, and baby wild arugula. We have the freedom to create menus that are true to our chefs’ experiences while only featuring ingredients that are in season from local purveyors.
How does the lunch vibe differ from dinner?
For dinner, we recently launched our first pop-up dining experience called Viento, a Pan-Latin-inspired concept. We took inspiration from our existing chefs and posed the question: what are you passionate about cooking? With this chef-centric approach, we discovered that many of our chefs grew up with Latin influence and were passionate about bringing this influence to our new dinner menu.
What do you think your clients expect when they dine at Breeze, and how do you deliver?
Part of the charm of Breeze is that we have servers that have been at this hotel for over 30 years. They get to know our guests and deliver an experience that provides genuine care — in addition to great food. Breeze is consistent and is dedicated to Hyatt’s industry-leading philosophy of food: “Thoughtfully sourced; carefully served,” which reflects the company’s global commitment to sourcing and serving food and beverages that are good for our people, our planet, and our communities.