The Man Behind the Food
Sugar Bowl's Chef Alan Davis
Leading the culinary team at Sugar Bowl Resort, Chef Alan Davis brings experience, passion and dedication to his work, creating delectable French-inspired California cuisine in the Dining Room, Belt Room Bar, and Lake Mary Cabin kitchens. Born and raised on the Massachusetts coast, Davis’ love and respect for the outdoors is showcased in the fresh, seasonal dishes offered on his menus. ‘My inspiration comes from whatever I see in front of me…the excitement of the changes of the season, what is new, what is available, working around that, and building a menu around that.’
Davis studied at the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach, and started his career close by, working as the Sous Chef at the Eastpointe Country Club. Gaining his formal fine dining training at the Sugar Cane Club, he worked under an Alsatian-style chef, who taught him elements of German-Franco influence, which ultimately resulted in the current style of his culinary offerings. ‘From what I’ve found, it seems to be the most consistently desired food. It’s not a captor of the niche markets or fads.’
The mouthwatering Grilled Petite Beef Tenderloin and succulent Venison Au Poivre on Davis’ current menu are timeless dishes that will impress any patron. The Braised Beef Cheek is another favorite of Davis’, due to the amount of time and attention the dish requires. In the 4 hours’ braising time and 2 prep time, the chef finds satisfaction in watching the progression of the dish, from the meat slowly breaking down to the formulation of the flavors in the sauce. And the time is always worth the taste.
Davis runs a ‘Brigade System’ in his kitchen, which he has found to be the most effective system in his experience. Allowing for creativity, but careful of overly ‘freelancing’ as he puts it, Davis ensures that every dish passes by him before exiting the kitchen. ‘Being a working chef, a good 75% of the mains come out of my corner, so one of the rules for myself is making sure my hand touches as much as the menu that sees the Dining Room as possible. Without this intimate feel of the food, that is basically my name, I’d be lost. I’m not a paper chef.’
As Davis’ menu items constantly change with the seasons, so does his self-education and experimentation. Whether it is finding inspiration through food at new restaurants or cooking dishes for friends and family, his creativity and understanding of current trends keeps him adept in the ever-changing culinary industry.