Travel: Interview with Hyatt Key West Resort’s Chef Dan Elinan

Executive Chef Dan Eilnan of Hyatt Key West

Key West, FL (May 25, 2011) – SHOR American Seafood Grill is spicing things up this spring at the Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa.  The restaurant’s newest addition, Chef Dan Elinan, is bringing his expertise and culinary skills to add new life to this island favorite. Innovative flavors and fresh ingredients are the inspiration behind his approach to food, giving guests a modern spin on traditional favorites.

“Chef Dan’s worldly culinary influences made him the perfect choice for SHOR at Hyatt Key West given that our property hosts a broad variety of visitors from all over the world,” said General Manager Lin Schatz. “We are confident that the blending of his experience with the flavors that are unique to Key West will make for an extraordinary combination for SHOR patrons.”

Key West Jumbo Shrimp

Since his arrival, Chef Dan has already launched new spring lunch and dinner menus, which include specialty items such as the Key West Jumbo Pink Shrimp – Braised Beef Brisket entrée and the Pecan Sweet Potato Crusted Yellowtail Snapper, both part of SHOR’s brand new sustainable wild and farmed seafood program. Of course, no meal can be complete without an exquisite glass of wine. Guests can choose from an ample variety of whites and reds, including selections from the hotel’s exclusive Canvas collection, specially made by Mondavi for Hyatt.

Get to Know Chef Dan Elinan

What was your culinary school experience like and do you feel it prepared you for your career in the food industry?

Culinary school gave me the administrative business knowledge that is essential to running a successful operation. The cuisine classes broke cuisine into regions that really opened my eyes towards all of the options we have as chefs. You can spend your entire career just learning about the vastly different yet connected cuisines of the world. In addition to the culinary aspect of our business, we spent a significant amount of time covering the dynamic Front of House procedures as well.  In retrospect it really felt like an interactive test lab with well structured lectures. I walked away with all the tools I needed in order to become a chef.

After you graduated, what was your first job as a professional cook and what was that like?

Garde Manger line cook, Le Bernardin.  Intense, fast paced, with no room for errors, I grew primarily by learning how to manage my mis en place prep in an efficient way and understanding how having an organized approach to meal preparation relates to  food quality.

Ratio by Michael Ruhlman

What are your favorite cookbooks that you would recommend every novice cook own and why?

Ratio by Michael Ruhlman, Larousse Gastronomique, The Professional Chef (CIA) 4th edition

Do you have a signature dish or a favorite you can share with us?

Any dish I create today is yesterday’s news!  I don’t have signature dishes for that reason.  I have signature sauces, spice blends, powders and techniques that can be used in the creation of a variety of entrees and accompaniments.

How do you feel about living in Key West and being part of the Hyatt team?

Living in Key West is truly a privilege and I’m honored to be part of the Hyatt organization.  I enjoy personally greeting our guests and island residents when they visit SHOR and hope to meet more members of the community in the near future.

The beautiful Hyatt Key West.

Offering a million dollar view of the Gulf of Mexico and the glorious Key West sunsets, the Shor American Seafood Grill is the restaurant to experience in the Keys.  Celebrate a savory menu at Shor American Seafood Grill.

Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa is a sanctuary on the Gulf of Mexico. The tropically-inspired, full service resort features 118 spacious rooms with private Gulf-view balconies, Hyatt’s signature Grand Bed, deluxe bathrooms and wireless Internet access. Other amenities include Jala Spa, which blends the natural delights of the local culture with the science of wellness; a 24-hour StayFit@Hyatt gym; and an outdoor swimming pool with spacious sundeck. Fresh favorites of the Keys are on the menu at the casual Blue Mojito Pool Bar and Grill and the classic SHOR American Seafood Grill. For more information or for reservations, visit

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