A Stop at Staytion: An Interview with Chef Daniel Perez
As someone who regularly frequents the Chicago foodie scene and stays up-to-date on hot downtown locales, it is no wonder that Staytion, the newly renovated space at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel that opened in May 2015 made its way onto my radar.
Unlike upscale hotels of our parents’ generation that boasted quiet elegance, this new Renaissance spot aims to be a destination for travelers and locals alike by providing rich accommodations with hip details. The hotel has been outfitted by the Getty Design Group and has no shortage of art throughout. They also keep things fun with draws like a DJ spinning in the lobby the entire weekend of Lollapalooza and a nightly punch ritual served every evening at 6:00 p.m. for guests.
Chef Perez also shared that if he could have an opportunity to cook with any other professional chef it would be wizard of molecular gastronomy Grant Achatz. “I would pick his brain for days,” says the Chef. “I had the pleasure of eating at his restaurant a few years ago and it was an experience.”
Admittedly, I love to cook at home and am always looking for tips from the pros to bolster my repertoire. I asked the Chef for his t op five kitchen must haves.
- A food thermometer. It’s hard to be a great cook if you can’t control what’s happening in your oven! (Check out the Oxo Good Grips® Instant Read Digital Thermometer.)
- A blender or immersion blender. (I love the Cuisinart® 2-Speed Smart Stick® Hand Blender.)
- A pasta machine because nothing beats homemade pasta (just ask Chef Perez’s kids!). (This Atlas® Marcato Pasta Machine is tops.)
- A good stainless steel pan for searing. (You can’t go wrong with a 14” All-Clad®.)
- A good cast iron pan for getting that heat indoors. (This Lodge® 12” Classic Cast Iron Skillet won the Cooks Illustrated product test.)
What can you expect next from Chef Perez at this location? He’s already hard at work on a menu for a rooftop bar opening in Spring 2016. Positioned as a hotel that tries not to be too traditional, I can only imagine this new venture will have food and bev selections as wonderful as the other two offerings in the hotel.
As it appears the chill of fall is already setting in where I live, I can tell you I’m very much looking forward to ringing in the hints of next summer’s warmth with Chef Perez in the spring. In the meanwhile, I think it’s time to hit Staytion for a killer craft cocktail. Who’s with me?