Fairyland Club Hires Executive Chef
Thursday, August 4, 2016
The Lookout Mountain Fairyland Club announced the appointment of Cristian Adasme as its new executive chef.
Originally from Santiago, Chile, Chef Adasme moved to the United States in 1994, “to pursue the American Dream… and a girl,” he said. Without speaking a word of English, he landed his first job working as a bus boy at the Westin Hotel in downtown Atlanta. Chef Adasme said that job was his entry into the hospitality industry and what sparked his interest in working in a kitchen.
He moved to Miami in 1995 and worked various odd jobs for three years. Miami was his first “fusion” experience that cultivated an interest in cooking to different culinary tastes.
Chef Adasme returned to Atlanta in 1998 to start attending culinary school at the Art Institute of Atlanta. It was there that he learned different cultures and cuisine that helped pave the way for his culinary career. Upon graduating in 2000, he began working at the Westin Hotel near the Atlanta airport as a banquet chef.
“The executive chef at that hotel really took me under wing and taught me the hands-on, practical skills of being a great chef,” he said. “I always remembered that lesson and have tried to pass that on in my roles as executive chef, helping others learn, develop and hone their skills.”
From there, he launched his career with various jobs and roles, including a stint as executive chef at a country club in Stone Mountain, Ga. He then returned to Atlanta to become a line chef of one of Atlanta’s oldest restaurants, Nikolai’s Roof. It was there that he learned the finer points of fine dining. He later moved to Buckhead to become a chef at the French restaurant Anis Bistro. He said that experience made him into “more of a real chef and independent thinker,” when it came to catering to different culinary tastes.
According to Chef Adasme, the most relevant chapter in his cooking career came with his next role as lead instructor at the Le Cordon Blue International cooking school in Atlanta. From 2004-2013, he worked with some of the country’s top chefs and led classes in everything from “Garde Manger” (French for preserving foods on the highest level) to starting and managing restaurants at the school, which were staffed by the students. During this same time, he did some training at the school’s campus in Ottawa, Canada, which helped him further hone his culinary management skills. He also did a regular TV cooking show, managed a number of community events, and was featured in several local and national magazines.
Chef Adasme moved to Chattanooga in 2013 and, just prior to joining the Fairyland Club, worked as a private chef for a local family. He said this was invaluable experience for teaching him about “personalized customer service” and cooking not only to different culinary tastes, but also to various health and dietary restrictions. He described this season in his career as very satisfying and key in defining how intimate an experience cooking can be.
"Since joining the Fairyland Club team, he has hit the ground running and has already made significant strides to build his culinary team and improve the kitchen operations for greater efficiency and productivity. He looks forward to creating a fun and positive work environment, where his team members can take great pride in the Club and the food they prepare," officials said.
“Basically, I want to put the Fairyland Club on the culinary map,” said Chef Adasme, who admits that’s an ambitious but nevertheless reachable goal. “I enjoy the ‘controlled chaos’ of the kitchen and all the creative energy it brings,” he said. “My goal is to harness that energy with a member-driven focus, so that we are always aiming to please the palettes of our members.”
“Taking clean, simple food and elevating ingredients to their highest level of flavor” is the essence of Chef Adasme's cooking philosophy and what best defines his vision for the dining experience at the Fairyland Club. “Being from a middle class family, I was exposed to cooking at a young age,” he said. “My greatest inspiration was my Mom, who was a terrible cook,” he laughs. “So I started cooking for the family every Sunday.” And because his immediate family in Chile lives in the country and his grandfather is a wine-maker, this farm-to-table approach using local, seasonal foods comes naturally to Chef Adasme with his deep Chilean roots and family traditions.
“I love my family more than anything,” said Chef Adasme, who tries to get back to Chile every other year. In his limited spare time here, he enjoys spending time with his three children and fiancée, Sara, and playing the blues on his acoustical guitar. Chef Adasme does not look at cooking as an art or a passion.
“I view it more as a craft, one that can be learned, practiced and honed by anyone who has an interest,” he said. “I guess you could say that cooking has been the medium that has allowed me to be the person I want to be.”