Chef Erik Hyre, an avid road bicycler and race participant for local charities, has been grilling some of the best steaks in the KC metro area for the past 16 years. Chef Hyre started his culinary path working for great restaurants like Houston’s and Bayou State Brewery. Fortunately, Bayou State Brewery, which was located in Town Center Plaza and went out of business in 1997, was very close to the new Hereford House opening soon just across the parking lot. Chef Erik walked right over and asked, “Are you guys hiring?” And the rest is history.
Chef Hyre, while starting as a apprentice, graduated from Johnson County Community College with a culinary degree in 2000 and now, after close to two decades with the Hereford House, is the Corporate Chef for all Hereford House locations as well as Pierpont's at Union Station. Although Pierpont's may be where his office is located, Chef Hyre travels to all four Hereford House locations where he can be seen taking care of all of the menu specifications and leading his culinary teams. I caught up with Chef Hyre at the Leawood Hereford House, this writer’s favorite, where at least three times a month he comes to partner up and cook with some of the 12-13 Chefs he oversees.
Chef Erik Hyre personally updates the menu’s Chef's page as each season changes. He has added some gems for foodies such as lamb chops and escargot. The great steaks Hereford House serves their guests are provided by Sterling Silver Meats, and come from only corn fed cattle. Chef Hyre told me, “At just the Leawood location, steak lovers go through 600-700 lbs. of filets per month.” That’s in addition to KC Strips, Sirloins, Tenderloins, Rib-eyes and Prime Rib.
“During the lunch and dinner rushes I'm always on the line at whatever location I may be visiting. I want to be that last line of defense to that food before it goes out to the guest.” That kind of passion may be hard to find in kitchens today, but Chef Hyre explained, “Hereford House is like a family in the way they treat their employees and customers. The tradition of the steaks and the Hereford House name for over 50 years is so important.”
Hyer’s a busy guy, racing from one Hereford House to the other, or racing on his bike. When he takes time to reflect, he says he takes the most pride in his Steak Oscar entree, but his proudest moments come from this, “People come here from out of town and know the Hereford House name, I’m proud to be affiliated with that reputation and hope to contribute to such a tradition.”