Top (Spa) Chef: Executive Chef Stéphane Beaucamp of Lake Austin Spa Resort
In this month’s Top (Spa) Chef we’re showcasing the talent of Executive Chef Stéphane Beaucamp of Lake Austin Spa Resort. The Destination Spa is known for its clean, fresh, and flavorful healthy cuisine and Chef Beaucamp’s Parisian training truly kicks it up a notch!
Born in Argenteuil, France, just outside Paris, Chef Beaucamp knew that professional cooking was his passion after spending a summer helping in his uncle’s bistro in Normandy as a boy. “As a child I was always helping my parents cook,” Chef Beaucamp told us. “Dad was always baking; mom was always in the kitchen. They’d get up early just to make sure there was good food ready to eat all day. We used to go to the seaside every summer, but one year, when I was 12, my parents were working very hard and told me that we couldn’t afford to take a vacation. But they suggested that I could go stay with my uncle, who had an hotel/restaurant in Normandy, right near the beach. That summer I spent with my uncle was when I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
After attending Belliard Culinary School in Paris, he apprenticed in the traditionally run kitchens at the city’s elegant Hôtel Plaza-Anténée and cooked at the celebrated Grand Café des Capucines. At the spa of Enghien-les-Bains and the Hôtel le Trianon in Versailles, Chef Beaucamp first experienced creating health-conscious cuisine. He worked his way up to executive chef at the trendy Parisian restaurant and club, Barfly, which eventually led him to the Buddha Bar under the direction of Kazuto Matsusaka, and the Bouchon Bistro Lyonnais on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. While in LA Chef Beaucamp cooked for many A-list celebs including Elton John, Charlize Theron, Renee Zellweger, Tim Curry, Adrian Brody and Nicole Kidman, who even asked him to cater her birthday party one year! Now at Lake Austin, Chef uses his past experiences to create exciting, healthy and seasonal meals for the incredibly satisfied guests.
“On our menu recently, we’ve started to use all the ‘forgotten vegetables,’ the ugly ones that no one wants,” Chef Beaucamp shared. “Celery roots, rutabaga, parsnip, turnip, and we steam them, mash them, roast them and sear them. We are also using kohlrabi, I like to show our guests that you have many ways you can use these vegetables. For Thanksgiving we did mashed rutabaga instead of mashed potatoes and our guests were surprised how good it was.”
In addition to using the seasonal forgotten veggies, Chef creates his own flavored salt using herbs sourced from the property’s garden. “Smoking salt when we smoke our turkey, and also making truffle salt using ‘fleur de sel’ and truffle oil.”
When asked about food trends that may have seen the last of their 15-minutes of foodie fame, “I think that the kale and quinoa obsessions are starting to die down. Quinoa is now the new rice and kale been used so many different ways that people are tired of it. Also sriracha became the new chipotle, it’s everywhere (sriracha mayonnaise, sriracha marinade, sriracha chocolate cake) so definitely no sriracha on my menu next year.”
Create one of Chef Beaucamp’s favorite recipes from Lake Austin at home! This Garden Tomato, Watermelon, Toasted Cashew, Sweet Basil, Chevre and Lemon-Agave Vinaigrette is as mouth-watering as it sounds… and looks!
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¾ teaspoon light agave syrup
¾ teaspoon white wine vinegar
Kosher salt, to taste
1 large, ripe tomato (red or yellow), quartered
1/2 cup diced watermelon (you can also scoop the melon into balls)
3 basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted cashews, lightly chopped
¼ cup chèvre (preferably local), crumbled
To make the Lemon-Agave Vinaigrette, whisk together the grapeseed oil, lemon juice, agave syrup, white wine vinegar, and a generous pinch of salt in a small bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
To make the salad, arrange the tomato, watermelon, and the basil leaves on a plate, drizzle with the Lemon-Agave Vinaigrette, and then top the salad with the cashews and chèvre.