Meet our Culinary Team at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center

If you’ve ever dined with us at The Class Act Restaurant, than you know our culinary team has an exciting vision and passion for creating delicious food. We want you to get to know our talented team better and learn more about what drives their passion for food.

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Joshua Spalding is our Executive Chef here at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, bringing his culinary vision and talents to our guests and visitors daily. Joshua was previously a chef at Dominion Country Club and La Cantera Resort in San Antonio, West Creek café in Nantucket, and Nicavids Bakery & Cafe in San Antonio.

What Joshua likes to eat: Southern United States cuisine

What Joshua likes to cook: “I like to cook anything I’m unfamiliar with - I love learning new styles.”

Joshua’s favorite knife to use: Nakiri

Joshua’s knife recommendation: Nakiri

Joshua’s favorite food memory: “I have several. When I was around 6 or 7, I went out to eat with my parents and my old man was showing me how to break open crab legs. I didn’t really like the way they tasted, but he was so excited by it that we ended up eating a whole pound.”

“I’ve been in this industry so long that most of my food memories revolve around cooking rather than eating food. More times than I can count, there have been situations when we pulled off what to any sane person would have thought impossible. From having buffet tables collapse in the middle of an event, to pulling off parties of hundreds of people when half the staff called out, or helping my wife assemble a wedding cake that was literally taller than she was. Those are the kinds of things, that even though were stressful at the time, I look back on with a smile. If you really want to see a group of chefs happy just get them together and let them tell war stories about all the times they got it handed to them.”

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Shaun Rients is our Sous Chef here at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, bringing his culinary talents to our guests and visitors daily. Shaun was previously the Executive Chef at Sunnyside Country Club, Chef at College Chefs, and the Culinary Director and Chef for Camp Tapawingo.

What Shaun likes to eat and cook: “I started working in restaurants when I was sixteen. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that I found an interest in food itself. I attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale, Arizona, graduating in 2010. This career has taken me around the country and to new opportunities. I have always enjoyed eating and cooking Asian food, Chinese, Japanese, and Thai.”

Shaun’s favorite knife to use: 8” Missono Chef’s Knife

Shaun’s knife recommendation: “It’s difficult to answer, as every job uses a different tool. I would love either a 10” Masamoto slicer/sushi or a heavier 10” MAC Chef’s Knife.”

Shaun’s favorite food memory: “I was around 8 years old driving with my grandparents to Florida and we stopped for dinner. I wanted the surf n’ turf. My grandmother insisted I get something else, as it was way too much food, but I wanted the steak AND the shrimp. Grandpa let me order it and he ordered less food for himself just in case. I finished all my food and helped grandma with her steak too. She was not happy.”

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Cat Grimsley is our Pastry Chef here at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, bringing her sweet talent to our dessert menus. Cat was previously a baker for Zin’s, The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, and Pastry Chef at Bread Garden Market.

What Cat likes to eat: “I really enjoy classic comfort food with a modern or upscale twist. There's something really appealing to me about taking a familiar dish or flavor and turning it into something new.”

What Cat likes to cook: “Dessert in general, but cheesecake has always been one of my particular favorites. There are so many flavors you can incorporate into the cheesecake itself, as well as pairing it with interesting components.”

Cat’s favorite knife to use: “I use serrated knives more than a lot of chefs. They're great for cutting different things like cakes and pastries - not just bread. You can get nice, clean slices without squishing your product.”

Cat’s knife recommendation: “If you only have one knife, it should be a classic medium-weight chef knife. It can handle most tasks you need done.”

Cat’s favorite food memory: “The moment I realized that I wanted to specialize as a pastry chef and I figured out why baking appealed to me more than cooking. Baking is an amazing blend of science and art. Some recipes have very exact measurements and ratios that need to be maintained to produce a quality product. However, once you understand the framework of a recipe and the chemical processes, you realize there are a lot of opportunities to customize things and get the finished product you're looking for.”