June 30, 2013
Chef Karsten Hart leads Castle Hill’s award-winning culinary team. A former Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef from The Estate by the Elderberries in Oakhurst, California, Chef Hart was one of only 20 chefs in the United States with the ‘Grand Chef’ designation.
Inspired at an early age by his mother’s cooking, Karsten grew up in Louisiana in a melting pot of cultural influences, with German and Italian parents who loved to cook. Karsten’s first cooking jobs were in small, Cajun-style and Italian restaurants, but he learned the most working in a Chinese eatery where time on the wok station really instilled a passion for learning different cooking techniques.
“I realized I was good at cooking and it was something that I truly loved. I knew that if I could learn different techniques, it would only make me a better chef in the end.”
Chef Hart went on to further his formal culinary education at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Upon graduation, he headed back to Louisiana and joined the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, a five star, five diamond property as its Sous Chef. Later, he became Executive Chef at the Estate by the Elderberries.
Chef Hart’s culinary heroes are those with whom he has had the honor of working, James Overbaugh, the Executive Chef at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills and French Master Chef Rene Bajeux.
At Castle Hill, Chef Hart brings his constantly-evolving culinary philosophy to the award-winning property. He is a strong proponent of cooking with ingredients unique to the area and combing classic technique with original ideas. A student of different cultures, Chef Hart enjoys an international view of cooking and readily embraces different techniques. “I study just about every culture you can imagine. My style is constantly changing, but I’m continuously refining my craft and learning along the way.”
Karsten resides in Middletown with his wife, Deja.