Master chef creates art in and out of the kitchen

Master chef creates art  in and out of the kitchen
June 25
00:00 2015

In photo above: Shanta Hauser, executive chef at The Bistro at Winston-Salem Hotel & Spa, hosts a food tasting and art exhibition on Saturday, June 20. (Photo by Erin Mizelle for the Winston-Salem Chronicle)

By Tevin Stinson
The Chronicle

Free food tasting and an art exhibition welcomed patrons of The Bistro on Saturday, June 20. The Bistro, inside the Winston-Salem Hotel and Spa, at 3050 University Parkway, held an event to mark its grand opening.

For Executive Chef and artist Shanta Hauser, opening her own restaurant where she can display her artistic ability is a dream come true.

Although she always had dreams of becoming a chef, Shanta admits visual art has always been her first love. From the National Black Theatre Festival held here in Winston-Salem to Greece, Shanta has displayed her art across the world.

“I started off as a visual artist,” Shanta said. “I’ve shown in the Lincoln Center in New York, Diggs Gallery, Greece, and a lot of other places, I was doing that at first, then the cooking started to really take over.”

Eight years ago, Shanta joined the Winston-Salem Hotel and Spa as a caterer. At that time Shanta was not the master chef she is today but, she was confident in her ability to cook, and was determined to reach her goal of owning a restaurant.

“I wasn’t a chef but I knew I could cook. They let me cook for one of their staff meetings. They tasted the food and called me to tell me I was hired,” Hauser said. “Next thing you know, I’ve been here eight years.”

Winston-Salem Hotel and Spa, which was the Sundance hotel, has never had a restaurant. In years passed, the hotel would only host banquets that Shanta would come in to cater.

Shanta said when she was responsible for catering the events for the hotel, she had little and sometimes no help. From selling tickets to cooking all the food, Shanta had to do everything herself. Now with a full staff of employees, Shanta said setting up for the food tasting and grand opening was a lot less stressful.

“I’ve always been like a one-woman show, but now I have the opportunity to have a trained staff,” Shanta said. “This is the first time I’ve done a event that I haven’t been stressed because I have the support to pull it off.”

The general manager of the hotel, Rudy Ferraro, said he has done a lot of grand openings, but he has never done an opening with a art exhibit. Ferraro said he was blown away by how talented Shanta is when he first met her.

“I’ve seen Shanta’s vision and wanted to bring that alive. She is amazingly talented,” Ferraro said. “From what I hear, she can play the clarinet, the violin, she’s a painter, she is an artist with food as well. She is truly an incredible talent.”

According to Ferraro, the best thing on the menu at the Bistro is the pecan crusted salmon.
“The salmon is just amazing. It has pecans and is topped with a cranberry sauce. it is very good.”

Shanta said that achieving her dream was a long process. The single mother of three said she is a prime example of what you can do even though the odds may be against you.

“You have to have a lot of motivation and determination,” Shanta said. “Anything is possible. Just stay motivated and speak your dreams into existence. Words are very powerful.”

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