Salt Lake City, UT-September 2009-The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City announces the appointment of Executive Head Chef Phillip Yates. Yates joined the Grand America Hotel's team of world-renowned chefs in 2007. Since then he has been delighting hotel guests with his distinctive, multi-regional cuisine.

"I'm excited to have Phillip at the helm of the Grand America's culinary operation," says Mr. Bruce Fery, Executive Vice President of Grand America Hotel and Resorts. "Phillip is a natural innovator; incredibly creative and absolutely focused on fresh new approaches to the dining experience at all levels. He's got the perfect blend of talent and passion."

As Executive Head Chef, Yates plans to continue providing what he deems "the best dining experience in Salt Lake City" using fresh ingredients and as many local products as possible. He will oversee a staff of more than 17 banquet chefs and build upon the menu he recently created to include choice buffets and new plated dishes.

"There are many things I want to bring to the table as Executive Head Chef," says Yates. "Most importantly, I want to stay ahead of culinary trends." Yates other goals include being very involved in the community and tailoring his menus to both local clients as well as convention clients who fly in from around the world, "Never losing track of either," he adds.

During Yates culinary career, he has executed many high profile events and written menus for clients including Dick Cheney, Laura Bush, Governor Rick Perry, as well as many actors, musicians, foreign leaders and fortune 500 business executives. He once cooked privately for Texas Longhorn Coach Mack Brown and his guests after their National Championship win.

Yates attended the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon, where he graduated in 2003 at the top of his class and received the Top Toque award. After culinary school, he accepted an internship with the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas. He was kept on after his internship and promoted to a Banquet Chef.

"My experience at the Four Seasons taught me how to handle high profile large events down to more intimate private events for high profile clients," says Yates.

In 2007, Yates decided to pursue a career at a five-diamond property and visited the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City. "The minute I walked into the lobby I knew I wanted a career here," he says. "Since then, I've strived to take a fine dining restaurant experience to the banquet plate-making every buffet I prepare exceed expectations and appeal to both mouth and eyes."

Yates started at the Grand America Hotel as Banquet Sous Chef and was quickly promoted to Executive Banquet Chef, then to Executive Chef and now Head Executive Chef.

About the Hotel
Inspired by the grand hotels of the past, the The Grand America Hotel is a AAA Five-Diamond resort located downtown Salt Lake City at 555 South Main Street. This 24-story luxury property offers 775 spacious guest rooms, of which 395 are suites. It boasts amenities such as a world-class spa, award-winning brunch, indoor and outdoor pools and 80,000 square feet of meeting space with two ornate ballrooms and 21 meeting rooms. For ore information or to make reservations please call 801-258-6000, 800-304-8696 or visit

Gingerbread Pancakes with Apple Compote

- 3 ½ Cups Flour
- ¼ Cup Sugar
- 1 ½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
- 2 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon Ground Cloves
- 1 Tablespoon Ground Ginger
- 4 Large Eggs
- ½ Cup Canola Oil
- 1 Quart Buttermilk
- Apple Compote (recipe below)
- Powder Sugar

In large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. In a separate bowl combine eggs, oil and buttermilk and stir with whisk. Pour liquid mixture into bowl of dry mixture and whisk. Be careful not to over mix, this will cause pancakes to be tough. Cook pancakes over medium low temperature in a large cast iron pan. Garnish with apple compote and powder sugar.

Apple Compote

- ½ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Cup Apple Juice
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 3 Granny Smith Apples

In a medium sauce pan combine vinegar, apple juice, sugar and cinnamon stick. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Reduce liquid by half. While liquid is reducing, peel, core and dice apple into ¼ inch squares. After liquid has reduced add apples. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium simmer. Reduce until liquid has reached a syrup consistency and apples have become translucent. This will take approximately 15 minutes. Remove from heat, place in shallow pan to cool in refrigerator.

1. Make pancakes the night before this allows spices to infuse better. It also makes breakfast easier and less mess in the morning.
2. You can make compote 4 days ahead.
3. You can use left over compote with pork dishes and goes well on toast or English muffins.
4. Omit cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger and add ¼ cup more flour and you now have my family's recipe for buttermilk pancakes.