Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas
- 4150 North MacArthur Boulevard, Irving, Texas, 75038, U.S.A.
Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 2000
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Current
- Regent Hong Kong; Sheraton Wentworth Hotel, Sydney; Dorchester Hotel, London; Intercontinental Hotel, Düsseldorf; Hilton International, Düsseldorf
- Bendorf, Germany
- Restaurant apprenticeship in Germany
- English, German, basic Chinese
It takes passion to run one of Four Seasons’ biggest dining operations. That’s why Christof Syré got the job. As Executive Chef of Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas, Syré oversees two restaurants, three lounges, and banqueting for a 30,000 square-foot (2,787 square-metre) meeting center and a 500-seat ballroom. There’s 24-hour in-room dining for 431 rooms, too.
Fortunately, Syré has a lifetime of inspiration behind him. Raised in cozy Bendorf in the Rhine-Mosel region of Germany, his parents are third-generation restaurateurs who own a fine-dining spot that’s been in the family for 120 years. Though his siblings weren’t interested, Syré plunged in early. “It was always fascinating to watch my father in the kitchen – ‘Try this! Taste that!’” he recalls. Syré’s grandfather taught him how to pour a beer from a tap. “It took seven minutes – not to teach it, to pour it.” Now that’s passion.
Though Syré apprenticed at a small country restaurant, his first assignment in Düsseldorf lit a fire too hot for the family business. “I worked with a gentleman who raved about the freshness of seafood in Sydney and made up my mind right then to experience it.”
After Australia and a Michelin two-star in London, Syré headed for Hong Kong. A turn as Chef de Cuisine for a six-restaurant hotel revealed to him the beauty of Asian cuisine while spurring creativity through ever-changing menus. Syré eventually became Executive Chef, following the retirement of the previous one, who’d held the position for 17 years.
So how did those Asian inspirations work in steak-loving Dallas? Quite well, in fact. Upon arrival in 2000, Syré transformed the menu at Café on the Green, adding light, simple dishes like steamed sea bass in broth. “People wondered what I was doing, and I’d tell them, ‘just try it,’” he recalls. “Years later, a club member told me, ‘I always thought meat had to be big and crispy in Texas. You taught me well.’”
Syré has since put New American on the menu at Café on the Green. Meanwhile, his passion has only grown. “Cooking puts airplanes in my stomach!” he says, with a buoyancy that plays well in cooking classes and on frequent television appearances. Maintaining similar enthusiasm through a 58-person staff is not without challenges, of course: “I don’t want people who are after money. I want those who see fireworks when they experience flavor combinations.”
The recent economic downturn hasn’t phased Syré, who quickly recognized the need for more local product, less costly menu alternatives and heightened efficiencies to keep business humming at the resort. “I’ve always been about setting trends,” he says. “When you follow in this business, you’re already too late.”