Chef of the Month: Alex Hoefer, FIRE Steakhouse

Name: Alex Hoefer

Name of Restaurant: FIRE Steakhouse, Wind Creek Casino, Wetumpka, AL

Restaurant Phone Number: 1(866)946-3360

Restaurant Website: https://windcreek.com/wetumpka...

Where were you born and raised?

Born in Huntsville, AL and raised in Birmingham, AL

What inspired you to become a chef?

Honestly, I am not sure I was initially inspired to become a chef necessarily; I think it just happened. I always enjoyed cooking at home and being in the kitchen with both of my grandmothers and my mother, who are all phenomenal cooks. I started working in restaurants because they were the only places that offer work I was interested in at such a young age. Once I was old enough to start working the line, I became fascinated with how food worked. The idea of becoming a chef did not even occur to me until I was 10 years or so into working in restaurants! I wanted to be a biology teacher or an engineer. It is wild how life takes you down a path sometimes. What a ride!

Where did you train to become a chef?

I have been working in restaurants and kitchens since I was 13, and I attended The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY when I was 27. I have been fortunate enough to work all over the United States. It has been a great ride so far and a fortunate education alongside many talented chefs and cooks now running their own kitchens. As a chef, you are always training and learning. You never turn down more work or the opportunity to learn and grow.

What others jobs have you worked within the food industry?

I have worked as a server, busser, bartender, prep coo, commis, line cook, sous chef, exec chef, butcher, dishwasher, banquet/catering chef, and culinary instructor; many of these at the same point in time between two or three restaurants.

What does your typical workday involve?

There is nothing typical about it really. As the Property Chef for the casino and hotel, I oversee all of the restaurants, special events, and about 130 staff. There is always something new and exciting going on here and work always finds a way to keep me on my toes!

Who is the most notable person you’ve ever cooked for?

In 2016, the hotel I was at hosted the Australian Olympic Swim Team for 3 weeks leading up to the Rio Summer Olympic Games. I was responsible for feeding them 3 meals a day plus snacks and special workout meals and all kinds of fun stuff! It was such an honor and so much fun to work with them and their nutrition team. They were all outstanding individuals!

If you could cook for any celebrity of historical figure, who would it be?

Bill Murray. How fun!

Do you own any pets?

I have a dog. Her name is Bailey. I got her in April 2020 during the pandemic. We don’t deserve dogs. She’s the sweetest thing ever!

What’s your favorite seafood dish to serve up for yourself and your family?

We love a good old fashion shrimp boil in my house! Corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, sausages, onions, citrus, plenty of seasoning, and of course, a mountain of Alabama Gulf Shrimp!!

What makes Alabama Gulf Seafood special?

The people who fight daily to preserve it. The ecologists, farmers, and patrons of the sea. We have such a rich and vibrant oceanic tapestry to choose from and we need to both promote it and preserve it for future generations to enjoy.

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