Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC
- 2800 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, DC, 20007, U.S.A.
Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 1987
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Executive Sous Chef, Four Seasons Hotel Boston
- Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver; Four Seasons Hotel Chicago; Clift San Francisco (formerly a Four Seasons Hotel); Four Seasons Hotel Boston; Peabody Court Hotel Baltimore
- Aberdeen, Scotland
- Coast Guard cooking school; Restaurant Management associate's degree, Baltimore School of Culinary Arts
- English, Spanish
New York has bagels, Chicago has deep-dish pizza and Seattle has fresh-flung salmon at Pike Place Market. But how about the nation’s capital? “The only thing missing from this city’s soul is a food identity,” says Douglas Anderson, and he ought to know. As Executive Chef of Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC, Anderson has witnessed a surge of creativity on the restaurant scene, but still, no iconic dish.
Anderson came by his talent not through Le Cordon Bleu, but through Le Coast Guard, which he joined to become a radioman. When strict rules on naturalisation nixed that ambition, the Aberdeen, Scotland-born bosun’s mate made his way to the Coast Guard’s Food Service “A” School in Petaluma, California. “I spent four months learning to cook soft-shell crab and other stuff you’d never see on a cutter,” he recalls. “They teach you the good stuff so that later, you’ll be able to cook the bad stuff well.”
Anderson dove in, devouring textbooks and excelling at the programme and the seven-year enlistment that followed. The experience proved applicable to his current career: “The Coast Guard standard was ‘Whatever it takes,’ which instilled a lot of pride. I feel that same energy and pride in the Four Seasons way of doing things.”
Following a turn with legendarily demanding Georgetown chef Michel Laudier, Anderson headed off on a series of Four Seasons assignments across North America. Upon taking his current position, he promptly redefined the Hotel’s dining focus, emphasising simplicity and freshness and paying close attention to guest predilections. He recently refined the In-Room Dining menu, going “out of the box” to include comfort foods based on guest suggestions.
Meanwhile, Anderson works to find products from within 100 miles (161 kilometres) of the Hotel. Anderson maintained a seat on the board of a local farming co-op before the opening of BOURBON STEAK, and he is currently the chair of the Hotel’s Green Committee, working with nearby organic and natural farms to ensure that he's serving top-quality food.
Despite Washington’s all-business reputation, Anderson finds the local culinary community “strangely connected,” brimming with homegrown success and a network of chefs whose closeness rivals what he experienced in Vancouver.
Which raises the question, why no native dish? Anderson hasn’t a clue, though he has some ideas for what it could be. “People think this is a Brooks Brothers town, but actually, it’s an international city in denial,” he says. “You can have any food in the world, so I’d do something really fusion.”