Culinary career encompasses Las Vegas MGM Grand to Maui and Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay’s Oystercatchers to Owner/Chef at Hapa in Oldsmar
Tampa, FL – Chef Brett Austin Gardiner, former Sous Chef at Pelagia Trattoria, has been named Executive Chef of the acclaimed restaurant.
The restaurant is located in International Plaza and is attached to the lobby level of the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel. In addition to serving restaurant guests breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, the culinary staff is also responsible for room service for the 293-room AAA Four Diamond-rated hotel, banquets, weddings and other in-house catered events.
“We are extremely excited to have Chef Brett Gardiner continue his career with Pelagia. He is a true professional, a talented chef and a skilled artist who takes great pride in his work,” said Jim Bartholomay, general manager of the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel. “Brett and former Executive Chef Andrew Basch are great friends and excellent collaborators but as Andrew moves on to a career focused on catering, Brett will continue to oversee the daily dining experience at Pelagia along with the many corporate functions and special events held at the hotel.”
Gardiner began his career in his homeland of Honolulu, HI at the Kobe Japanese Steak House that opened in 1971. He developed his passion for the culinary arts while working at the family-owned business. His father, Rod Gardiner, is one of the founders of Kobe Japanese Steak House.
Brett Gardiner next served as sous chef at Sarento’s at the Top of the Ilikai in Honolulu before moving to Scottsdale, Ariz. to attend the Scottsdale Culinary Institute Cordon Bleu.
Upon graduation, Gardiner became a “Master Cook” through the MGM School of Leadership while creating “French cuisine with Pacific flair” at Gatsby’s, the signature gourmet experience at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
He briefly returned to Hawaii in 1998 to serve as sous chef at the Kobe Japanese Steak House in Maui, moved cross-country to Dunedin, where he was executive chef at Six Tables, a 30-seat, continental French restaurant and then returned to the hotel industry and becoming the chef of Oystercatchers at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.
Gardiner may be best known for Hapa, the award-winning restaurant formerly located in Oldsmar which he owned and operated with his wife, Nina Gardiner, who is also an accomplished chef and graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute. Together, they created the concept for Hapa, a fine dining restaurant known for its fusion cuisine and use of locally sourced, fresh ingredients.
“I am extremely proud of everything that Nina and I achieved at Restaurant Hapa but I’m excited about what I can now do to contribute to the creativity and quality of the culinary experience at Pelagia Trattoria,” said Gardiner.
Under the couple’s guidance, Restaurant Hapa received a Golden Spoon Award from Florida Trend Magazine and was recognized as one of the “Best of the Bay” restaurants by Tampa Bay Magazine from 2006 – 2010.
Pelagia offers a modern twist on Italian cuisine featuring fresh, seasonal flavors and locally sourced foods. Open year-round for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, the restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating and is located in the lobby level of the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel at 4200 Jim Walter Blvd. (or 2223 N. West Shore Blvd.), Tampa, FL. For information, or reservations, call 813-313-3235 or go to www.pelagiatrattoria.com.