Meet the Team: Chef Cory Hoekstra

Chef Cory is the Senior Executive Chef at City Works in Disney Springs.

In this series, we will take a deeper dive into the talented people who make up the Bottleneck family. 


Smoking/BBQ. To me, there is nothing more rewarding than transforming ingredients on the smoker and elevating not only meat but vegetables and cheeses into something completely different.


If you could travel anywhere in the world to eat for one week, where would it be and why?

Spain is at the top of my list. I want to go from city to city eating the local tapas, drinking wine with the locals, and learning about their culture.


Who had the biggest influence on the way you cook and why?

My father for sure. He introduced me to all sorts of cuisines and the importance of shopping and eating local. Every time we get together, we cook entirely too much food for our family and experiment with different ingredients or techniques.


Where do you shop locally for interesting ingredients?

I enjoy the local farmer’s markets. It’s easy to find inspiration there with the abundance of fresh produce and local meats. There are also two shops in Winter Garden that are my standard go-to spots, Megabyte BBQ for all my BBQ supplies, and The Local Butcher & Market for excellent dry-aged beef.

What’s your most guilty junk-food pleasure?

Ice cream. I really enjoy Kelly’s Ice Cream and am really pumped that Salt & Straw opened at Disney Springs right next to us.


What’s the one type of cuisine (different from your specialty) that you always wished you could prepare, and why?

I would love to learn more about Thai food. It’s usually very balanced, complex, bold, and fresh.


If you weren’t a chef, what would your dream job be?

Theme Park Design. I grew up wanting to be an Imagineer. I still read any book or article and watch any documentary I can find in relation to designing theme parks. The amount of detail put into the design of theme parks is unreal.


What’s your go-to meal at home?

Tacos! Whether it’s something the wife and I put on the smoker or random leftover ingredients from the previous night’s dinner, anything can be made into a taco.


What advice would you share with chefs just beginning their careers?

Never stop learning. There are so many resources available to you, including the cooks that you work with. Travel somewhere new, eat something you’ve never tried before. Read cookbooks, memoirs, and leadership/management books to continue your own development. You can get whatever you want out of the restaurant industry, as long as you are willing to put in the time and dedication to the craft. It’s my favorite part about being a chef, there’s always something new to learn or a new way to do it.


If you could change one thing about Orlando’s food scene, what would it be?

Celebrating Florida cuisine. It has yet to truly be defined what “Florida” cuisine is. We have such a rich and diverse culture in Florida, melting those different cultures together and making a cuisine uniquely Florida. Four Flamingos does an incredible job at this, I’d love to see more cohesive Florida-centric restaurants.


What’s your favorite local restaurant, other than your own?

The Tasting Room in downtown Winter Garden is one of my favorites, but if I’m wanting something a bit more casual or quick, Chicken Fire is the way to go.


What is your favorite (non-cooking) hobby?

I really enjoy riding my bicycle and exploring new trails. The intent is for exercise, but I somehow end up at a new brewery every time.


What three things are in your fridge at all times?

Pickled peppers (Mama Lil’s Peppers from Portland, Oregon), eggs, Duke’s mayonnaise.

What was your favorite bagged lunch as a kid?

Bologna and American cheese on white bread!


What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I climbed a 10,000-foot mountain in Central Oregon a few years ago and intend to summit every major peak in the Pacific Northwest within the next 5 years.

Chef Cory shared City Works’ Sloppy Joe recipe with Spectrum 13 in Orlando. 

Find it here and tag us at @cityworksus on Instagram if you make it!