Get to Know Ivo Sandrea, the Ballantyne Hotel’s New Executive Chef

Charlotte’s newest chef will debut summer menu at Gallery next month

The Ballantyne Hotel hired Chef Ivo Sandrea this month to head up the resort’s food and beverage team. Sandrea will oversee the menu at Gallery, its signature restaurant, as well as the hotel’s private dining, in-room dining, and banquets.

In July, he’ll debut his summer menu at Gallery, which builds on the restaurant’s farm-to-table concept. Expect new seasonal dishes like his backyard salad with watermelon, pickled beets, pistachios, and feta; and Brussels sprouts with wasabi nori spice and sweet soy glaze. He’ll continue to serve favorites like the heirloom tomato bisque and Gallery’s signature steaks as well. Here are a few more things to know about Charlotte’s newest chef.

Age: 48

Hometown: Maracaibo, Venezuela

Favorite sports team: Seattle Seahawks

Currently reading: The Bible of Flavor  

Approach to cooking: “Use only the freshest and local ingredients, make food healthy without leaving butter and cream out, and use house-made vinaigrettes.”

Chefs he looks up to: Daniel Humm from Eleven Madison Park, in New York

Ingredients you’ll always find in his pantry: Ginger, garlic, cumin, and dried porcini  

Favorite secret ingredient: Fresh thyme and lemon

Guilty pleasure: Riding motorcycles 

Favorite Charlotte restaurant other than his own: Evoke

Chocolate or Cheese? Cheese

Beer or wine? Red wine

Coffee or Tea? Tea

Vanilla or chocolate? Chocolate

Ketchup or mustard? Mustard

Rules to live by in the kitchen: “Cook with passion, seasoning, and taste.”

Categories: Beer & Wine, Drinking, Restaurants & Food, The Buzz