Cityview 2022 Top Chef 2nd Runner Up
The Oliver Royale has been a staple part of Market Square dining offering guests American cuisine in an historic atmosphere. And crafting its menu is Chef Darin Hoagland, a California native who began his culinary career in southern Florida. While he found his way to Knoxville just five years ago, Hoagland’s career as a chef spans two decades. And it all started with a little at-home inspiration.
“I was always most comfortable in the kitchen with my mama,” Hoagland says. “But to be honest, at a certain point in my life, I just decided to become a chef.”
This drive is something he admits he can’t fully put into words, so he lets his dishes do the talking. And knowing how much having a mentor helped him early in his career, Hoagland finds additional purpose in his work by paying it forward and helping fledgling chefs find their paths as culinary artists. Teaching and collaboration make it even more worthwhile.
Hoagland employs a simple kitchen management philosophy that has served him and his staff well: “Mise en place. Be ready. Have everything in front of you ready to go.” His style of cooking is classic but modern with a Caribbean flare. Mangoes are his favorite ingredient to use, adding a fresh taste to any meal. He has worked hard to bring his own style to the Southern culinary roots that the Oliver Royale is known for.
When he’s not in the kitchen—or preparing a Top Chefs menu—you can find Hoagland enjoying the outdoors. As an avid trout and fly fisherman, Knoxville was a perfect place to move due to the abundance of year-round outdoor activities. Being connected to nature gives him a seasonal perspective that supports the fresh and locally sourced cuisine inside the Oliver kitchen.
1st Place Winner
Tuna sashimi with Kimchi mayo, sweet soy reduction, scallions, pickled ginger, wasabi cream cheese, crispy wonton, and tobiko. Paired with J Vineyards ‘J’ Brut Rose, Russain River Valley.
Caribbean jerked black grouper with Okinawan purple sweet potato, papaya, mango, kiwi salsa, crispy plantains, and coconut beurre blanc. Paired with a 2019 Pieropan Calvarino, Italy.
Overall Experience – 3rd Place Winner