By Kathy M. Newbern and J.S. Fletcher
(Second in a Series)
Our return to The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte turned out to be perfectly timed to meet new Executive Sous Chef Nathan Volz, who joins the Uptown Charlotte property after a stint at Eric Ripert’s 10 Arts at The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia, where he served as Chef de Cuisine.
The affable Volz, with 14 years' experience, sat down with us for a brief chat in the popular Lobby Lounge after plying us with a huge slice of Hummingbird Cake from Bar Cocoa. His duties include leading culinary activities for Lounge, Urban Sip wine and Scotch bar, in-room dining, banquets and the year-round retail and cooking class offering of Bar Cocoa dessert boutique.
In addition to his work in Philadelphia, he also served as Chef de Cuisine for 2-West French-American Steakhouse and Rise Bar at The Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park.
“We are delighted to welcome Chef Volz to The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte,” said Charlotte General Manager David Rothwell. “Nathan’s thoughtful approach to seasonal and regional ingredients, as well as his energy, creativity and culinary leadership will be tremendous assets for The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte.”
Volz told us he aims for clean flavors. "I have a real love and affinity for Southern food and all the bold flavors that come with it," he said. "I like to prepare is food that two days later you're still craving, food that creates memories. That's food that I hold nearest and dearest to me." (Hear more from Chef Volz in the accompanying video.)
Volz joined The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company at a young age following culinary training with Le Cordon Bleu, but unlike many famous chefs, he did not always have the kitchen in his sights. He grew up cooking alongside his mother and working in restaurants as a teenager, yet he chose to major in accounting at college. Ultimately, though, he gave up a future at a desk and returned to what had already become his lifelong passion -- creating great food. Volz brings a strong and admired Ritz-Carlton pedigree to his position, having also provided his culinary skills and leadership to The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, CA, and The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, GA.
“I am thrilled to be in Charlotte, and look I forward to bringing many new menu experiences to The Ritz-Carlton Lobby Lounge, Bar Cocoa and Urban Sip,” said Chef Volz. “I love partnering with local growers to create fresh and innovative menu selections, and North Carolina’s bounty is truly inspiring for me.”
We asked Volz if he'd yet been introduced to the Ritz Carlton's rooftop bees. "No," he said, but "I'm looking forward to incorporating our local honey into some of our new dishes." We can attest to how delicious that honey is; in fact, just before sitting down with Volz in The Lobby Lounge, we'd sampled the free afternoon ice cream in the lobby, choosing the honey flavored version.
Can't wait to return and see what's cooking in Chef Volz's kitchen.
If You're Going: For reservations or more information about the culinary experience at Urban Sip, Bar Cocoa and The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte Lobby Lounge, call 704-547-2244 or visit http://www.ritzcarlton.com/charlotte or http://www.barcocoacharlotte.com.
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Luxury Travel Examiner Kathy M. Newbern and spouse, J.S. Fletcher, report on luxury destinations, spas and cruising around the globe. They are award-winning members of the Society of American Travel Writers and created YourSpaReport.com and YourNovel.com, their personalized romance novel business.