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Amber Lancaster was recently hired as the Executive Chef for Sable Kitchen & Bar.
What are you looking forward to the most in your new role as executive chef?
I am most looking forward to what is in store for the future of Sable. I cannot wait to see what we can do as a team here—the sky is the limit!
You're the first head female chef at Sable since Chef Heather Terhune. Can you tell me what that's like?
Chef Heather has been someone I’ve personally looked up to for a long time. When I worked at Alinea, we would come to Sable after work for amazing food and cocktails. It truly felt like a very special place. Since joining the Kimpton family, I am now lucky to call her a co-worker. I know I have big shoes to fill and hope to give guests that same special dining experience that she gave me back in the day.
How do you think past experiences have prepared you for this role?
With more experience comes more knowledge. As a young chef it’s tough to understand why you aren’t ready for something, especially when you feel like you’re cooking at a certain level, but you haven’t gone through the proper career steps. Sometimes those steps aren’t just for strengthening your cooking skills—they give you time to self-reflect and have a better sense of awareness, which shapes you into a better leader. So even though you might be able to cook your butt off, at the end of the day, being a chef is so much more than that. It’s about becoming your best self for you and for your team, which happens over time.
How did you get into the industry?
When I was younger, my Grandmother and I would always have Tuesday night sleepovers where we’d cook together. Those memories are very near and dear to my heart and that’s where my original passion for cooking sparked. I also enjoyed dishes when my mother used to cook for me. It was a more rare occasion, but they were really special because it was the whole family together around the table; as my mom was a young mother we often ate out a lot, so the home cooked meals really brought us together in a different way. And finally, last but not least, when I was speaking with my Uncle who is a lawyer, he asked me if I could do one thing every day where money was no issue what would I do? I said, well I guess I would cook. He told me, well then, you should probably look into culinary school. My Aunt then helped me to make the transition and drop out of regular University and enroll myself into Culinary School…. And the rest is history.
What are you hoping to achieve in your new role?
To make delicious food and to make people happy. I want people to genuinely enjoy their experience at Sable—the food, the cocktails, the service, the hospitality.
Can you tell me about the new menu you debuted in December?
My new menu is perfect for our space and our clientele and reflects some of the food and techniques that I love and that are so near and dear and special to my heart from the time when I lived in France, and Italy. Mike Jones heads up our beverage program and he’s doing a stellar job, so I wanted our food to complement that as well.
What do you enjoy most about the industry?
The different people and personalities. I work long hours… many long hours… but it doesn’t feel like work. I have a pure love for this industry and this lifestyle and I cannot imagine doing anything else.
Any other comments?
I am super blessed and thankful to all of the people in my life who have been supportive and helped me get to where I am at in my career. Every day is a new challenge and I am very lucky to have the leaders and colleagues that I do! Super excited to be a part of Kimpton too. This company is SO special!