Q & A with Chef William Quinn
Executive Chef, The Alida Hotel
Q: What gets you excited to be in the kitchen every day?
A: What gets me excited is the endless possibilities. Every day offers an opportunity to learn and create something new.
Q: What do you like to do on your day off?
A: When the universe allows spare time, I love to connect with the earth, get my hands dirty, and garden. Something about being outside where it’s quiet, just like when working in a kitchen silence is indeed golden, taking care crops through their cycle where the end result yields something beautiful is very satisfying and you feel a sense of completion. I love it!
Q: What are you looking forward to the most working at The Alida Hotel in Savannah? Can you give us a few hints of what’s to come on the menu this fall?
A: I’m really looking forward to experience and explore the rich history behind Savannah and getting involved in the blossoming food scene. I’ve been here a couple of weeks and there are definitely some great restaurants in town. Instead of samples of what’s going to be on the menu, I’ll introduce more of a broad-brush explanation of our cuisine. Our mission is to serve approachable, yet creative dishes using the best ingredients we have access to and treated with the finest techniques we know.
Q: Our guest to Savannah Food & Wine are huge foodies and they love wine. What are one of your favorite fall dishes and wine during the fall months?
A: I kind of wait all summer to be able to make sticky and rich braises. Give me a low and slow braised lambs neck with something herby and peppery, some crusty bread, and I’m a happy boy. As for a nice glass of wine to go with that, maybe a Bevan Cellars Sugarloaf Mountain from California. That sure sounds like a perfect fall night to me!
Q: Savannah is steeped in southern culture and history. Do you have a favorite flavor or product found in southern cuisine?
A: Believe it or not, it’s the evil peanut. The most villainized nut. The Pitbull of the nut world. I love roasted peanuts and it’s truly a shame we have to handle them like their plutonium these days.
Q: What inspires your menu developments and overall design? Will Savannah bring out any southern inspired dishes?
A: It all starts with the ingredients. If you stay true to the season and ingredients, the overall menu will design itself. Of course, the city of Savannah will influence me. It’s impossible not to be inspired by this beautiful Southern city especially with its long, rich history.
BIO: William Quinn
Executive Chef, The Alida Hotel | Savannah, GA
Food-focused from an early age, William Quinn enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America right after high school, intent on mastering the fundamentals of classic cuisine. After completing an internship at The Little Nell, a prestigious five-star resort in Aspen, Colorado, Quinn broke into the New York City cooking scene, making his own way in one of the most competitive restaurant environments in the country.
In New York, Quinn wasted no time building an impressive résumé, cooking for Tom Colicchio at Gramercy Tavern, Gerry Hayden at Aureole and Jean Jacques Rachou La Côte Basque. Though he credits these legendary chefs with building his abilities on the line, he also credits them with cultivating his understanding of professionalism and respect — for the food, his coworkers, and the process.
After a stint as Executive Sous Chef of Geoffrey Zakarian’s Town, Quinn left New York and took on his first executive chef job, at the historic Stockton Inn in Stockton, New Jersey. Here, he earned rave reviews for his progressive New American cuisine, including a “rising star” nod from the Philadelphia Inquirer. Next up was two years working alongside Max Hansen, a well-regarded private chef and caterer in based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Quinn returned to the restaurant world as the Executive Chef of the Inn at Bucks County, where he implemented an innovative farm-to-table approach. He joined STARR as the executive chef of Parc, the celebrated French bistro-brasserie on Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square. After three years building a strong culinary team, Quinn then moved within the STARR family to The Dandelion in Philadelphia’s Center City West.
Seeking a challenge and identifying a great opportunity, he made the decision to move from his northeast stomping grounds to the magnificent hostess city of the south, Savannah. Quinn is excited to join The Alida Hotel culinary team as Executive Chef, using his extensive knowledge and experience to create a delectable yet refined menu with a take on a classic American kitchen.
The Alida Hotel
The essence of Southern hospitality, The Alida joins modern life with timeless Southern charm on Savannah’s revitalized riverfront. Get to know the rich history of River Street while discovering a neighborhood that is industrious, flourishing and always evolving. Anchoring it all is The Alida, an inviting hideaway that offers travelers unparalleled access to Savannah’s local artists, makers, and thinkers.
Alida Harper Fowlkes was a celebrated entrepreneur in Savannah, who also worked tirelessly to preserve its heritage. We celebrate the Alidas of our time: self-made artisans who cultivate our city’s contemporary spirit while honoring its storied past. Nostalgic and forward-looking, industrial and gracious, curious and always custom—The Alida welcomes you to experience the inspiring warmth and unpredictability that make Savannah the true Hostess of the South.
“As the newest hotel partner, The Alida Hotel is thrilled and proud to participate with the Savannah Food & Wine Festival to host Whiskey on the Water. Not just because of the vast variety of culinary cuisine in one place, but it’s a great opportunity for us to connect with the community on a personal level. The festival has become such an iconic event, this partnership gives us a platform to reintroduce an iconic Savannahian, Alida Harper-Fowlkes, whose dedication made her the pioneer of historical preservation and restoration. The Alida Hotel is honored to continue her legacy of being the anchor in the revitalization of the west end of River Street.”
The Savannah Food & Wine Festival takes place throughout Savannah, November 5 – 11, 2018 with celebrity chefs and winemakers, connoisseur dinners, one-of-a-kind culinary, spirits and wine experiences. The most up to date festival information is available on the website at www.savannahfoodandwinefestival.com; Twitter: https://twitter.com/SAVFoodWineFest; Instagram: www.instagram.com/SAVFoodWineFest; Facebook: www.facebook.com/SavannahFoodandWineFestival.