Christian Hardy M.D. chef and owner of Culinary Excellence was the head of Pediatric Cardiology at Children’s Hospital Oakland for 14 years. After suffering a near death episode of his own, he re-evaluated his options and decided life was just too short, and he wanted to do something else that he loved. With that in mind he retired from his position at Children’s Hospital and went back to school at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco to begin an AOS degree in the Culinary Arts. As he was finishing his studies at the CCA, he realized that he had a true passion for pastry. When he left the CCA he decided to further his training at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in St. Helena, Napa. Spending a year studying nothing but pastry really lit a fire and passion for Chris which lead him to the decision that if he truly wanted to learn pastry there was only one place in the world he could really go to learn it properly, Paris. After graduating from the CIA Greyston with highest honors of all students, he was accepted and enrolled in Ecole le Notre in Paris, France, where he spent a year studying and learning the finer points of pastry. While there he also studying a variety of courses in the savory kitchen as well as banquet catering.
Upon returning to the states Chris was eager to get into the food industry and originally thought he wanted to work in a restaurant. After doing some research and looking at the different options Chris realized that in fact while a restaurant had many wonderful possibilities, he wanted to have more input and control over the food and product he was putting out. Knowing this, Chris began to look into catering, where he discovered Culinary Excellence, a company owned by a German couple who were looking to retire. Having met and connected with the previous owners Chris bought the company in 2004.
At the time Culinary Excellence was located in a 4,000 Square foot space, which was perfect for starting, but pretty quickly it became clear that Chris’s plans for expansion were not going to be contained in the small space that the Culinary Excellence offices occupied. It took a bit of time to find the right space and location for the new offices. In 2010 Chris found a wonderful new 20,000 Square foot property in Oakland. In this space he built a 2,500 square foot state-of-the-art kitchen with two walk in refrigerators, a walk in freezer, and enough counter space for 12 chefs to work side-by-side in the production of outstanding catering cuisine. Additionally there are 1500 square feet of office space with two fully equipped tastings rooms, and a fully equipped gym for the staff, and a warehouse that houses all of the equipment necessary to outfit even the largest affairs.