When Chef Daniel Barrett first interviewed with Sam and Gabe’s at the Lyon it hadn’t opened yet, there was no furniture, they needed a new executive chef and he agreed. He says he felt it would be a “challenging and rewarding opportunity for me. I hopped on board because I knew that I could do it.”
Learned in the school of hard knocks, Barrett first started cooking at fifteen when he began making appetizers in the kitchen at Hotel Pattee in Perry, Iowa where he grew up. There he worked his way through the ranks as his passion for food kept growing. From Perry he traveled to West Des Moines to Glen Oaks Country Club where he worked for eleven years and developed the dining experience to include events like wine dinners, cooking classes, and tableside dining. During his time at Glen Oaks, Barrett refined his skills and traveled to San Antonio’s Culinary Institute of America for continuing education classes. Intending to spend more time with his family, Barrett made a temporary career shift to a grocery store food service manager with Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market. While the opportunity allowed him to focus on fresh products, it took him away from home too often, and Barrett soon returned to the kitchen and found his way to Sam and Gabe’s.
At the Lyon, Barrett has had freedom to play around with the traditional Italian steakhouse faire. His training is traditional French, but he incorporates Creole influences inspired by his origins in Shreveport, Louisiana and his connections he still has on the gulf. He started what he simply calls his shrimp gig. Barrett has a friend with a six boat shrimping operation down in Louisiana and as long as the boat comes in, he can get the shrimp to Des Moines in six hours. Barrett then sells the shrimp primarily to friends and family, but some guests have been lucky enough to experience them in a special weekend feature. And his commitment to freshness doesn’t end there; Barrett is a gardener himself and has provided homegrown herbs and vegetables. He also has a partnership with Sun Gold Farms in Paton, Iowa to get local, organic produce into the restaurants and onto the plates of our guests. Desserts and breads are made in house, seasoning blends are freshly mixed, and the new menu will feature hand rolled pasta. Barrett wants guests to know how fresh our food is. When asked what makes Sam and Gabe’s special, Barrett said it was the people; “Just treat people well, you know? I treat people with respect in the kitchen. It becomes a family environment that people want to be around. That is the most essential part.”
Treating people well and serving the freshest most flavorful food is Chef Daniel Barrett’s mission at Sam and Gabe’s at the Lyon. He cooks for his guests the same way he cooks for his family, when you’re at his table be sure, he is going to take care of you. Make your reservation soon to experience what Chef Daniel is serving at the Lyon.