WHEN MY STAFF TASTES SOUP, I WANT THEM TO USE A CUP NOT A SPOON. TAKE THAT FIRST SIP. TAKE ANOTHER. CLOSE YOUR EYES AND JUST EXPERIENCE IT.
Four Seasons Tenure: Since 2000
First Four Seasons Assignment: Current
Employment History: Regent Hong Kong; Sheraton Wentworth Hotel, Sydney; Dorchester Hotel, London; Intercontinental Hotel, Düsseldorf; Hilton International, Düsseldorf
Birthplace: Bendorf, Germany
Education: Restaurant apprenticeship in Germany
Languages: English, German, basic Chinese
It takes passion to run one of Four Seasons’ biggest dining operations. That’s why Christof Syré got the job. As Executive Chef of Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas, Syré oversees two restaurants, three lounges, and banquetting for a 41,000 square-foot (3,800 square-metre) conference centre including a 500-seat ballroom. There’s 24-hour in-room dining for 431 rooms, too.
Fortunately, Syré has a lifetime of inspiration behind him. Raised in cozy Bendorf in the Rhine-Mosel region of Germany, his parents are third-generation restaurateurs who own a fine-dining spot that’s been in the family for 120 years. Though his siblings weren’t interested, Syré plunged in early. “It was always fascinating to watch my father in the kitchen – ‘Try this! Taste that!’” he recalls. Syré’s grandfather taught him how to pour a beer from a tap. “It took seven minutes – not to teach it, to pour it.” Now that’s passion.
Though Syré apprenticed at a small country restaurant, his first assignment in Düsseldorf lit a fire too hot for the family business. “I worked with a gentleman who raved about the freshness of seafood in Sydney and made up my mind right then to experience it.”
After Australia and a Michelin two-star in London, Syré headed for Hong Kong. A turn as Chef de Cuisine for a six-restaurant hotel revealed to him the beauty of Asian cuisine while spurring creativity through ever-changing menus. Syré eventually became Executive Chef, following the retirement of the previous one, who’d held the position for 17 years.
So how did those Asian inspirations work in steak-loving Dallas? Quite well, in fact. Upon arrival in 2000, Syré transformed the menu at Café on the Green, adding light, simple dishes like steamed sea bass in broth. “People wondered what I was doing, and I’d tell them, ‘just try it,’” he recalls. “Years later, a club member told me, ‘I always thought meat had to be big and crispy in Texas. You taught me well.’”
Syré has since overseen the transformation of the Hotel restaurant to a new concept with a new menu and brought in a new Chef de Cuisine, as well as a new indoor/outdoor bar concept. The Hotel’s signature restaurant LAW, which stands for land, air and water, brings a Texas-inspired menu to guests and locals giving them the best the Lone Star State has to offer. In addition, the Hotel bar, OUTLAW Taproom, is inspired by the concept of LAW and features Texas musicians as the root theme throughout. Syré was thoroughly involved in strategic menu planning to create a cohesiveness between the two bustling outlets.
Syré’s guidance and leadership has lifted both LAW and OUTLAW Taproom up to record breaking revenues and rave consumer reviews.
This humble chef continues to give 110 percent every day in one of the largest group hotels in the Four Seasons family. He does it with a smile on his face – and sometimes while doing his signature back flip in the kitchen – to keep the team’s morale in check. Syré loves to give back to the community as well, and takes pride in his famous Chef’s Table that is always a large fundraising item at local charity events. His love for food shines through every time he has the pleasure of introducing new patrons to the amazing creations from Four Seasons Dallas and his treasured culinary team.