Friday, December 26, 2014

Meet Samoa Soiree Participant: Chef Kyle Fowlkes

This spring, chefs from across Hampton Roads will be putting their culinary creativity to the test as they participate in Samoa Soiree, an annual event hosted by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast where chefs use Girl Scout Cookies to make unique desserts and appetizers. This year, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast will be welcoming Chef Kyle Fowlkes, executive chef for Embassy Suites Hampton Roads—Hotel, Spa and Convention Center, as well as the Cyprus Grille Restaurant, as a participant.

Chef Kyle got an early start in the kitchen. He remembers working alongside his grandmother from an early age while growing up in Massachusetts. Her cooking gave him the opportunity to sample New England fare, as well as her native southern cuisine. Now, Chef Kyle looks back and says that it was the experiences with his grandmother that led him to pursue a career in culinary arts.

A 2003 graduate of Johnson & Wales University in 2003, Chef Kyle learned about the Samoa Soiree at a local Johnson & Wales alumni event when he met Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller, a fellow JWU alumna.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing what creative dishes other chefs come up for at the Samoa Soiree,” Chef Kyle said. “I also can't wait to work with my team to see what we can come up with.”

Chef Kyle, who has been with Embassy Suites in Hampton since 2005, currently oversees a culinary team that serves as many as 2,500 people in one seating and has catered to guests including state government officials, presidents of Fortune 500 companies and military generals. Chef Kyle, who has lived in Virginia for over 20 years, is committed to using locally grown produce, artisan cheeses, meats and seafood from the Chesapeake Bay in his dishes.

With a myriad of recognitions and awards on his résumé, Chef Kyle most recently took home the runner’s up award from the Virginia is for Lovers Culinary Madness Challenge for his delicious recipe—Nana’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken. He also participated in the most recent Tastefully Yours fundraising event to support the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, where he took home a people’s choice and a judge’s choice award for his house made pimento cheese fritters and French macarons. Chef Kyle regularly appears on The Hampton Roads Show to share his recipes with local audiences.

In addition to wowing Hampton Roads with delicious flavors, Chef Kyle is also dedicated to giving back to the community. He speaks at area high schools and volunteers as a mentor for students who are interested in pursuing culinary arts. He is also a proud sponsor of a regional women’s finance group, for which he hosts monthly food and wine pairing events.

What can guests expect from Chef Kyle at Samoa Soiree? That’s a secret until March 7, but he is known for bringing southern cuisine to live with a contemporary American and Asian flare. He also says that Samoas are his favorite Girl Scout Cookie variety. Everyone is invited to join Girl Scouts for this adult-only tasting event at the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center, which also includes live music and a silent auction. More information about the event and purchasing tickets can be found at