Extraordinary passion for food and many years of professional kitchen experience are two qualities that an Executive Chef, or Head Chef, must possess. There is an intricate dance of creative and managerial role the executive chef plays in the kitchen.
Here’s an interview that gives us a preview into a professional and personal culinary world of the Executive Chef in one of the best hotels in Lancaster County, PA.
Meet Don Tripple, the decision-maker and leader of the kitchen crew at the Eden Resort & Suites.
1. Has cooking always been a part of your life?
I have been in the Hotel/Restaurant business for twenty-seven years now, cooking at fine restaurants in the area; it is what I know and have perfected.
2. How long have you been a chef?
I have been a chef for twenty-three years, anything from sous chef to executive chef. I was a chef at a local fine dining/catering restaurant for 13 years before becoming the executive chef here at the Eden Resort 10 years ago.
3. What is your favorite plate/dinner/meal to cook?
My favorite things to cook are surely fresh fish and seafood. I find seafood to be very diverse in recipe options, from chutneys, salsas, bruschetta’s, to stuffing fish with some unique ideas. I find seafood to be rewarding to cook and good for you to eat.
4. Do you cook at home? If so, how often?
Yes, I cook at home nightly; my kids are my biggest critics, but also my biggest fans.
5. What is your go to comfort food?
My comfort foods I would say are anything grilled or smoked. I have a smoker and a grill at home. I like to marinate and grill anything from lamb chops to pork chops or a thick cut of steak. I love to smoke briskets, fresh fish, to pork roasts.
6. How often do you update the restaurant menus?
I update the Sunday Brunch menu weekly, from seasonal fruits and vegetables, to fresh caught in-season fish, especially Sword Fish and Tuna from Ocean City Maryland. We also have buffets in both restaurants with new weekly great seasonal selections and trendy ideas.
7. What is the weirdest/most off the wall request you’ve ever received for a meal/add on/etc.?
I once had someone order onion soup and ask to have the onions strained out, because they do not like onions yet they still wanted the broth.
8. What is the best smelling dish you cook at the Eden?
I love to slow cook our seasoned boneless short ribs with Chipotle BBQ sauce. They smell great, and taste even better, so tender and juicy with spice zest.
9. If you had to choose one meal off your menu that you had to eat every day for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
I would have to say my favorite menu item would be imperial crusted Cod with avocado and lobster bruschetta, smoked Gouda scalloped potatoes, and garlic and olive oil infused roasted asparagus.
10. About how many people do you have helping you in the kitchen? Who is your right hand guy or gal?
I am very proud of my culinary team that I have put together over the years; they all have great individual talents that shine through with every culinary delight we offer. I have seven other chefs, ten dishwashers and sixteen other cooks that make the great Eden culinary team. Kagan Heater is my Sous Chef, he is surely my right hand man who, when I am not here, runs the kitchens as I would.
11. If there’s one ingredient you cannot live without, what is it?
My favorite ingredient is surely garlic. You do not want to overdo it, you want it to compliment anything you use it for and not over power it. It can be used for many items, meats, veggies, soups, sauce; the list goes on.
12. Why did you choose to become a chef?
I decided to become a chef because I love the challenge; no two days are alike. To be a good chef, you need to have good money and pricing skills for food cost, good managing skills for your staff, good people skills for your guest, to keeping kitchens sanitary and running properly, and most importantly, keeping my guests happy. I love all the challenges, I am a hands on kind of person, would never survive an office job.
13. What do you do to stay up to date and educated about culinary trends?
I stay up to date with the trends with many trade magazine subscriptions, TV shows, to Internet, and of course, taking a date out to a hot trending restaurant in the area or in the big cities.
14. What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?
One of my accomplishments that I am proud of is taking someone under my wing, and teaching them techniques and skills of my profession. I am proud of several people that I helped out on my way, they started out as dishwashers or prep cooks, and they now have their own kitchens at a restaurant in the area, the same way I learned years ago.
15. Do you source any ingredients from local farms, co-ops, etc.?
During the growing season, I personally pick up produce in my SUV from a neighboring farm in Mount Joy Lancaster County. Anything from watermelons, peppers, tomatoes, cantaloupes, broccoli & cauliflower to name a few. My family says my SUV smells like the produce section of the grocery store all summer.
At Eden Resort & Suites, the wonderful cuisine awaits each of their guests and visitors – in addition to a multitude of premium amenities and features this Best Western Premier Hotel has to offer.
When in search of Lancaster Pennsylvania hotels, trust Eden Resort & Suites to be your destination.