Chef Fred Raynaud talks Pheast, Philosophy & Southern Fare
What drives your cooking style?
“Number one, it’s passion. I have to really feel passionate about a concept and the food we are doing. I want to tell a story, where the menu weaves a dialog with the guests and they get to partake in the journey, by feasting on our food.”
Why Hen Quarter?
“In a word—Southern! No cuisine on the American landscape has had greater influence on the lives of Americans than the food of the South. It’s honest food. Prepared by tender-aged hands, that passed on their love for friends and family, through the recipes handed down from generations. That’s why we love comfort food. It is a powerful conduit of the past. It links us to our loved ones and satisfies, not only our base hunger, but our souls.”
What is your favorite meal at Hen Quarter?
“Well, it has to be that big fat Hen on our logo. I mean, picture a pasture raised organic chicken, air-chilled, plump, and ready to be cooked. Dip it in seasoned flour, serve on our amazing leek, bacon, and cheddar waffle, and you have found something special. Drizzle it with Booker’s Bourbon Maple, and aghh… it has you!
Or, rub it, smoke it over hickory, and nest it in a bowl of Sea Island Hoppin john, and you’re taken away… maybe it’s the smoke, or maybe it’s the hint of ginger and star anise in the trotter broth, but either way, it will keep you coming. That is what I love about the South. It’s endless.”
What are some of the values that drive Pheast food creation?
“When I was living in the farm country of West Virginia, and someone applied for a prep or cook position, I would take that person and walk them through the garden. I asked them, ‘What do you see?’ They usually stood there dumb founded. Then I would point out various produce items – beets, heirloom tomatoes, radishes, and herbs -and told them to pick the outlined produce. Then I brought them back to the kitchen and had them prep what the picked or pulled. It was then that I told them about the circle of food. “A farmer planted the seeds of those tomatoes… a farm hand picked it, and a packer packed it…. it finally made its way to our restaurant. Now when you handle that product with no care our respect, you are not only dishonoring this establishment but, dishonoring all those folks that work so hard to bring it to the kitchen.
We have the privilege of transformation, to prepare a dish with that product, and serve it to our guests. You see, the farm, the ranch hands, the soil, the care, all through the chain of supply, is a serious value that drives Pheast food. It’s farm to fork and then some. It’s cooking with respect for the food. It’s caring so much for what we do, to do anything less, would be crazy.”
Is there anything else that is a personal hot button?
“You bet! Hungry people. No, not those that eat but those that are hungry to learn and grow as amazing culinarians. That is a real hot button for me. If someone is hungry and eager to learn, have an internal desire for precision, then I will go all out for that person, and mold them the best of my ability.”
Bio – Chef Fred Raynaud
As a third generation restaurateur, following in the footsteps of his father, an artisan cook and restaurateur, and his grandfather, a baker and boxer at the turn of the 20th century in San Diego California, Chef Raynaud embraced the Culinary profession at an early age.
Chef Fred did his apprenticeship in the late 70s under Master Chef Stur Olf Andersson, of the US Culinary Olympic Team, at the famed French restaurant, Jacques Petit Jardin. Stur’s tutelage and mentorship inspired Chef Fred to pursue the craft in full force, gaining much of his early experience in petit French restaurants throughout the Southern California area, such as Victor Hugo’s Inn, La Vie En Rose, and Francois. From there Chef Fred moved into the hotel resort industry at 5 Star resort properties such as the world famous La Quinta Gulf & Tennis Resort, PGA West, Marriott’s Rancho Las Palmas, Wyndham, Hilton Riviera, and Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian Beach Resort. At Walt Disney Fred returned to his first love, artisanal cuisine, at the famous Victorian & Albert’s restaurant located in the Grand Floridian Beach Resort, WDW.
After Disney Chef Raynaud turned his attention to corporate R&D and stayed in the corporate world for the next 15 years. Chef Raynaud contribution to industry Research & Development has influenced such companies as Walt Disney World’s Celebration Health, Darden Restaurants, Rainforest Café, and Florida Hospital Systems. Most recently he served as Corporate Sr. Director of Culinary Operations for Guest Services, Inc. where he lead the company’s culinary program for 200+ operations around the country; most notable events included 2 Presidential inaugurals for President Obama, the first of which feeding over 400,000 people. He also served as Corporate Executive Chef, R&D, at Ameristar Casinos, Las Vegas, and Corporate Director of Culinary Operations for Grand Casinos, Inc. As Vice President of Culinary and Innovation for My Fit Foods, Chef Raynaud spearheaded cutting edge flavor into the world of health and wellness cuisine.
Now, Chef Fred as Vice President Culinary & Innovation, for Pheast, LLC, leads the company’s food mission and direction.
He states: “I want to create food concepts that sizzle with comfort, flavor, and honesty… food that causes you to reflect on memories, where you are drawn into the meal with images of your grandmother of father cooking an amazing meal. That’s where my passion lies. Food is such a part of life. It hinges on the richness and fondness of the past. It has the ability, not only to nourish, but spawn social engagement. Food should be approachable, true food—food for every body. Pheast allows me to take my love for cookery and create interpretive contemporary comfort cuisine.”
Chef Raynaud refers to himself as “self-taught” from the school of hard knocks. Yet his life long contribution to the culinary arts has not gone unnoticed. Chef Raynaud is currently completing his CMC certification under WACS (World Association of Chefs Society). In 2015 London based World Master Chefs Society bestowed upon Chef Raynaud the coveted title of Certified Master Chef, for his contribution to the industry. Fred is also a Certified Executive Chef and Certified Culinary Administrator with the American Culinary Federation. His educational pursuits lead him to study Research & Development at CIA’s Center for Menu Research. He also served as Practitioner Reviewer for the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly.
He is the recipient of Gold and Silver medals with the ACF. Fred is author of the Chef Architect, Concept Development & Design. He is an award-wining chef whose culinary efforts have been recognized by Esquire Magazine, Palm Springs Life Magazine, The Beverly Hills Club & Sports Magazine, Wine World, The Golden Chef, Gastronome Magazine, and Food & Wine Magazine. Not to mention the best Chef in America Awards Foundation, The Chaine de Rotisseur, and Le Toche Blanc International who have recognized Chef Raynaud as a dynamic leader in the hospitality industry, providing culinary excellence to the industry for over 30 years. In 2010, United Fresh Foundation Center for Leadership awarded Chef Raynaud the Chef of the Year – Produce Excellence Award in B&I. He is a member in good standing with the World Master Chefs Society, the American Culinary Federation, and the Professional Chefs Association of America.”
Reston, VA–June 27, 2016
Pheast Food Group, LLC is excited to be opening their newest restaurant concept in Alexandria,VA at 801 King St. Hen Quarter will be open for lunch and dinner on August 10.
Inspired by Chef Fred Raynaud’s culinary team, Hen Quarter is an ode to all that’s great about Southern food, with a menu consisting of dishes that are born of the best in farm to table philosophy. At Hen Quarter, we like to say “Our food was raised right!” The concept is built to support as many of our regional farms as possible. From Bell & Evans chicken, to Compart Farms Duroc pork, to Sea Island Hoppin John, to Anson Mills stone ground grits – the focus is on the freshest, most sustainable ingredients we can find.
Some headlining plates include our Deviled Hen Eggs & Pork Belly Pops, Chicken & Waffles, Biscuit Boards, Watermelon Salad, and a Tomahawk Short Rib. Another important feature to the concept will be a robust to go menu with Southern style fried chicken and sides to easily enjoy at home.
No true Southern concept would be complete without a respectable bourbon list, and Hen Quarter is no exception. Bourbon flights and craft cocktails will share menu space with our “Brown 75” list – a menu of 75 brown liquors, including an amazing selection of bourbons, whiskeys and ryes.
About Pheast Food Group
Funded by Thompson Hospitality, the largest minority owned hospitality company in the country, Pheast Food Group was created to develop new innovative restaurant concepts and will oversee the management of the company’s brands-The American Tap Room, Austin Grill, Willie T’s Lobster Shack, Pizza Studio and Be Right Burger. Visit http://www.pheastfg.com for more information.