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Page header for chef Ken Hnilo


Q: What is your culinary training background and how did that lead you to the Lake Geneva area?

My culinary background started at the Culinary School at Kendall College. There I earned a Bachelor degree in Hospitality Management. I have worked in many aspects of the hospitality industry as a sous chef, executive chef, server, bartender, Hospitality consultant, and restaurateur. I am fortunate enough to work and learn from some great chefs and companies including: Lettuce Entertain You, Le Vichyssois, Hospitality Works, O’Grady’s Brewery, Charlie Trotters and Carlos Restaurant. I love the Geneva Lakes area and have spent a large part of my culinary career working to make Lake Geneva a dining experience destination. As a chef/restaurateur, I created Lake Geneva’s only AAA 4 diamond restaurant. I am excited to be part of the Gage family, helping the world be a healthy place, and having people enjoy the Lake Life experience.


Q: Who has been your biggest culinary inspiration and why?

My biggest culinary inspirations can be traced back to Sunday dinners at my grandma’s house. However, It was very rarely about just the food. It was more about the people, the environment and how these three things worked together to create a memorable experience.


Q: What is your restaurant best known for?

Creating Lake Life Experiences


Q: What is your favorite dish to cook and why?

Its not necessarily a dish.... However, I love cooking with seasonal produce/vegetables. It just makes everything taste better.


Q: What is your process when developing a new dish?

I try and do research on the item. It is very important to understand the why, where, and how a dish came to fruition.


Q: Do you have any tips or tricks for those looking to elevate their dishes at home?

1) Try and cook with the seasons. 2) Support Local Farms and vendors. 3) Buy the best products you can afford.