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Patrick McElroy

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Chef Patrick McElroy

Executive Chef
Bon Appetit at Washington University

Q. What influenced you to pursue a career as a chef?

A. I was very fortunate to travel all over the world as a kid and be introduced to so many foods.  I think this is was started the spark. Both my parents are really good cooks. I still cannot grill a steak like my dad.

Q. Describe your cooking style?

A. I’m very much into simple food done correctly where the focus on technique is as important as the quality of food.

Q. Who taught you the most about food and cooking?

A. Other than my parents starting the interest, most of my background was through the school of hard knocks. I had some great chefs that helped guide and direct me to become a better chef, but I think being in the kitchen and not being afraid to make mistakes was, and still is, my biggest teacher.

Q. Describe your journey to get where you are.

A. I’ve been quite a nomadic chef - Always in pursuit to learn more. My background is high-end hotels and resorts. Starting in St. Louis, then traveling to Oregon, Chicago, Washington D.C., Florida, Santa Fe, California and then settling back in St. Louis. Each move was a growth in learning about regional cuisine.

Q. If you could choose any chef dead or alive to spend the day with cooking, who would it be and why?

A. Achim Lenders, the former corporate chef for Hyatt Hotels. I spent several years with Hyatt, and each time I met Chef, he always inspired me more and more. His vision on the whole dining experience was completely different than any other chef that I have ever met. Such a visionary. To spend a day in his world and share a beer at the end of the shift would be great!

Q. What is your favorite Chefwear item and why?

A. The Egyptian cotton chef coats. They are durable, comfortable and look good.

Q. What would your last meal on Earth be and why?

A. I’d ask for one more steak from my dad and a side of beef Bulgogi with all the fixings. Both are comforting foods from my past. My dad’s grilled steaks, because they are best in town. Beef Bulgogi, because I spent several years in Korea as a kid and have been attached to Korean food ever since.

Q. What advice do you have for the future chefs out there?

Be patient and take time to learn. Too many young chefs want the TV life and want to do very advanced techniques to impress guests. Focus on basics, standards, commitment to the craft and learn to develop those under you.

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