Born in Paris, France with a German-French Heritage, Chef Patrick Schaefer grew up in central Florida in Tampa. Military service was very important to Patrick and upon graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force where he served from 1981 until 1986 at Nellis Air Force base just outside of Las Vegas. At the time, young Patrick Schaefer had no clue how important his extensive military training and discipline would be as he entered into his life long career as an executive chef.
In 1989, Patrick enrolled in the Disney World Culinary Arts Program. True to his military discipline, the Disney program depicts Schaefer as a methodical thinker that naturally expedites his plan; is not uncomfortable saying how he feels while laying down his expectation of excellence all while being sensitive to the needs of others is the perfect recipe for an outstanding chef.
Chef Patrick beams while sharing the stories of all the world renowned chefs he had the pleasure of training with… “It was a true honor.” After graduation, Chef Patrick had no idea he was about to experience the Magic of Disney as he accepted a culinary position with Magic Kingdom. Chef Patrick’s career at Disney was truly a magical one where he developed his craft while working in some of Disney’s most luxurious properties and restaurants and in 1996 Chef Patrick was one of the original chefs who started the Epcot Food & Wine Festival.
From his Disney career launch, Chef Patrick’s culinary path took him to Armani’s at the Grand Hyatt in Tampa where he was the Executive Chef to relocating to Polk County for more family time. But true to his nature and military background his culinary journey lead him to revitalizing the Lakeland famed Louie Mack’s, opening The Sundown Restaurant in Winter Haven as well as bringing true Italian cuisine to Lakeland at La Porta Rosa. He also helped establish and raise the bar of the culinary scene in Lakeland during his tenure at Red Door. So as you can see, it is not a far thought to think that Chef Patrick’s magical journey would lead to him to his own vision, and Patio850 was born.
Q & A with Chef Patrick Schaefer
He is making lasting impressions in Lakeland with his personal culinary flair. His instinct for creating incredible flavor profiles with his own authentic style can be found at his restaurant, Patio850.
Q: This world of restaurants is not easy. How do you cope with the long hours? A: I don’t know any better… it’s my life, and has always been my life.
Q: Let’s talk about your food. What is your most popular menu item? A: Our Filet! When we began I was only ordering a small amount of beef tenderloin. I am now ordering 6 times that amount today. Definitely our cast iron seared filet is the best. “The Bacon Popcorn,” his wife Lisa adds, “it’s like crack! It is on our appetizer menu with Parmesan, truffle oil and maple candied bacon.”
Q: Any superstitions in the kitchen? A: Well, Yes… if it is not prepped, everyone will order it. That’s just how it goes.
Q: What is your guilty pleasure? And your favorite thing to eat? A: Favorite thing to eat is Sushi. I enjoy the simple clean flavors. My guilty pleasure, mint chocolate chip ice cream. And I then there is cheese!
Q: Cheese? Any cheese? A: Yes, cheese is a French tradition. After every meal it was cheese or dessert, Le Fromage ou Le Dessert? We like cheese so much when we travel we come home with an extra suitcase full of cheese. Our menu features our flatbreads/pizzas. Not your average pizza. The creamy cheese combinations herbed goat, Gorgonzola, Brie. Have you tried it yet? You have to!
Q: What should every household have in the spice cabinet? A: Cumin and herbs and spices are the focus of my meals. Spices add the explosion in my cooking.
Q:The Culinary world is a constant evolution of change; do you see any trends on the rise or maybe a new avant-garde innovation in our future? A: In my opinion, it should be sustainable, simple cooking. I enjoy the old school way of cooking. Real ingredients, sauces, the Mother sauces. Many cooks today rely on short cuts, not me. I want explosive flavors that come from scratch cooking with the best ingredients. We travel to get our Extra Virgin olive oils and cheeses we cannot find here. This is why we don’t print hard copies of our menus;. We change our menus with the fresh ingredients we find.
Q: With the crazy schedules we lead any tips or advice to the families trying to cook a healthy fresh meal at home? Especially with the focus on childhood obesity and healthy living? A: My tip for everyone including my family… Prep ahead. Plan your meals in advance, “Mise en place” (putting in place). Be ready for the week. Herbs and spices to enhance your meals or incorporate the herbs in your butters to make a delicious compound butter. That’s what I do.
Patio850 850 S. Tennessee Ave. Lakeland, Fl 33801 LakelandPatio850.com facebook.com/Patio850