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Chef Eric HottChef Eric HottChef Eric:      I was born on October 31, 1985 in Winchester, VA and grew up on a farm in Kirby, West Virginia. My mother is from Hornberg Germany and my dad is from Kirby, where my family still lives.


My granddad taught me many things about country life in WV.  Today, Dad teaches me aspects of country life that I missed while living in Europe. When home in West Virginia I spend a great deal of time outdoors. There are always many farm chores:  doing yard work, building fence, feeding cows, hauling and splitting wood, mowing and making hay, gardening and canning, just to name a few. One of my favorite hobbies is hunting.


My grandmother always has something cooking and she definitely taught me a lot about good home cooking and country style food. That’s where a lot of my creations and dishes started.  Mixing together ingredients to inspire new flavors, designs and textures were all things that I noted to make a twist on many foods.


High School did not provide all the Food classes during my attendance, but I made the best of what I could get. Sweets, from pastries, chocolates and desserts became a big passion for me. Just hearing the positive feedback on these creations was a positive boost of self-esteem.  After graduating High School in 2003, I moved to Baden-Baden, Germany and started a three year apprenticeship to obtain my Culinary Arts Degree. Working with Swiss Chocolate alongside a French Pastry Chef at the Kurhaus Firm/ Confiserie Rumpelmayer, became the new ground rule. There, I had the opportunity to work with many international guests. Whether it was providing snacks at a timed basis for meetings, to a lunch banquet for 2,400 people or providing a gala dinner consisting of a 7-course meal--these were just some of the challenges. I got the chance to provide in dessert preparation for the “German Athlete of the Year” event, which is hosted annually and the best German athlete is awarded. The most interesting event was the 25th Anniversary of the Ferrari Club. More than 200 Ferrari’s, new and old were on display on the front lawn. After three successful years and successfully passing the rigorous German State Certification Exam it was time to broaden my education and start my Chef apprenticeship.


In 2006 I started my Chef apprenticeship at the Brenners-Park Hotel & SPA in Baden-Baden, Germany. The entry level to what I became interested in years ago has now arrived, but at a much higher level. Being in a professional kitchen with Master Chefs and a two Michelin Star Gourmet Chef can be described as a pot of opportunities. Preparing a Cheeseburger for First Lady Michelle Obama could be considered the highlight, but serving many German stars as well as the German Chancellor breakfast from the Live-cooking station was just as important. I quickly learned any person in a 5+ Star Hotel is special and you go the extra mile with everything you do. Hosting events such as the G8 summit, German Media Prize Award, Oetker Hotel Management Company conventions and private celebrations and catered events I learned skill is only a part of the job. Managing, calculating and timing are other very important aspects along with courtesy, etiquette and professionalism. After three strenuous years, I completed another very rigorous German State Certification Exam where I was asked to prepare a 3-course meal within 4 hours and later serve appropriately.


Once my training time was over, it was time to be a part of the real work force. This, however, was not different since I had already been working in numerous kitchens. The big advantage of completing a German apprenticeship is being in a live kitchen setting instead of a classroom setting where after 4 years of schooling I would finally see a real kitchen. The Brenners-Park Hotel needed my help. My opportunity to run the Patisserie, also known as the Pastry department, had arrived. Creating a program to satisfy all and train staff to do what was required by them was a bit of a challenge at times, but even that soon fell into place. Seeking a management plan of upcoming events, orders, and organization were a few of many tasks that I took on during this time. I had the advantage of working for the hotel before; therefore, I knew the routine and expectations desired. A Leading Hotel of the World has standards that have to be met and exercised to honor the title. Therefore, the staff had to be coached regularly and supervised.


Two years later I was seeking newer challenges and tasks.  In 2011 I started at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, in Bad Ragaz Switzerland. A new environment and specialties and lots of chocolate were perfect. I was in charge of preparing nutritional meals for the Borussia Dortmund soccer team as well as being able to work alongside the Food Coaches of the Swiss Olympic Teams. Chocolate was the biggest task. I had previously worked a lot with chocolate, but in Switzerland everything revolves around chocolate. Different types of chocolate products were produced along with new creations I invented with my American background. I had the opportunity to create showpieces for buffets as well as welcome platters for hotel rooms.  Events, such as A la Carte desserts, dessert buffets for 250+ people and management of the workforce became routine tasks.


After two years, it was time to journey my way back to my roots. Ten years in Europe provided me with so much experience and wisdom. I spent last summer creating and designing recipes while enjoying the task of gardening to processing the produce. I call it back to the roots, literally. Nature provides a lot, it is a matter of what is made and done with it.

 In the meantime I am now an owner of a small business called EH Chocolates & Confections.

I have put my chocolate creations into many different taste assortments in truffle form. I enjoy the aspect of allowing locals to experience chocolate at a gourmet level. I use Swiss chocolate exclusively; therefore, it has its own standard for quality. The positive feedback is comforting and shows that clients enjoy my products as much as I do making them.