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Wines of the World

Vitners tasting tour
Auction & Dinner

Friday, November 16, 2018
Pier Sixty-Six Hotel and Marina

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Chef Gregory McGowanGregory McGowan
Executive Chef
Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six

Executive Chef Gregory McGowan hasn’t taken many small steps. At the age of 16 he was a prep cook and dishwasher as he worked his way through school, discovering an artistry and beauty in food that inspires him to this day. He worked in some of the most prestigious kitchens in New England, including the Farms Country Club, Executive Banquet Chef of the New Haven Lawn Club, Executive Sous Chef at the Golf Club of Avon, and as Executive Chef at the Oaklane Country Club in Woodridge, Connecticut.

In February of 2010 he joined the culinary team of the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty Six as the Executive Banquet Chef. He quickly proved to be an asset to the hotel and the community. Chef Greg led his culinary team to a first place finish in the 2010 Las Olas Food and Wine Show. In 2011 he was promoted to Executive Chef and his Brunch was voted the Best in Ft. Lauderdale by Riverwalk Magazine. Soon after, he led his culinary team to second place at the Museum of Discovery and Science Food and Wine Show. That year, he also took first place for best food display at the Las Olas Food and Wine Show and third place for best overall food.

In 2012 Chef Greg led his team to another second place award at the Discovery of Science Food and Wine Show. At the 2012 John Offerdahl Gridiron Griller Competition, he received a first place award, with his grilled pork belly lettuce wraps. Just this year, he was selected to perform live cooking demonstrations on ABC, Local 10 News. His eye for presentation and way with flavors provide culinary adventures beyond what would normally be expected after such a quick rise in the culinary industry.

At every level in his career, from a scullery in Connecticut to the iconic Pier Top, he has learned, respected and embraced the details of the hospitality industry. Now Chef Greg is making sure those details are a part of the culture and cuisine at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty Six, a hotel that has consistently led the way in style and cuisine for decades.

Chef Greg graduated from Center for Culinary Arts in Cromwell, CT and he is certified by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute. McGowan has an older brother, who is also a chef in Connecticut, where he grew up, and his mother still resides. His wife, Maritza, is of Puerto Rican background, and from Brooklyn, where they met in middle school, and began dating at the age of 14. Life took them in different directions for a few years, but they re-connected in their twenties, and now have been married seven years. She is currently a store director for J. Crew. Their children, currently, are their two shih tzu puppies! When asked what most inspires him, it is his opportunity to find the freshest of ingredients from local sources, and use them to separate himself to make his own mark.

His mentor was Chef Les Tripp, who gave him a shot, and pushed him to be a better chef. He of course, is inspired by many chefs — Charlie Trotter, David Chang, Charlie Palmer, and more. One of the special moments of his career? “My collaboration with the acclaimed French Chef Daniel Boulud at the New Haven Lawn Club.” In his work at Pier Sixty-Six, he takes particular pleasure in impacting such a volume of people in a short time. ”Sometimes we do thousands instead of hundreds in one night.” With that comes the challenge of building a comraderie in a team. “We have a diverse culture and work for a common goal. Each staff member learns from one another — from the culinary side to the front of house.” His passion when not cooking, is snowboarding, hiking, scuba diving, and attending concerts. Like many chefs, Gregory loves to travel to destinations known for their great food, in his free time. His favorite US destination other than South Florida? Napa, of course!

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