May 19, 2016

Meet the Hy’s Family: Chef Frank Vadacchino, Winnipeg

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We like to describe our staff as our family, and it’s hard to think of anyone who fits that word more than Frank Vadacchino, the Executive Chef of Hy’s Winnipeg.

Frank is a second–generation Hy’s employee: his dad worked in the kitchen at Hy’s Winnipeg for 35 years, from 1968—2003. That means that has been a Vadacchino in Winnipeg’s kitchen for more than 45 years!

By the age of 10, Frank was already visiting his Dad in the restaurant and seeing the team at work. Frank was hired at the age of 16 as a dishwasher, and has worked at Hy’s almost continuously since, moving through positions and up the ranks to reach the position of Chef.

When asked to describe the experience of working at Hy’s, Frank emphasised the family atmosphere and how, despite the size of the company, he often feels as though he’s working at a “small, family–run restaurant”.

It’s a reality of life for many chefs that they don’t get to escape kitchen duties when they go home to their real family, and Frank’s no different. His favourite food to cook at home is a dish he learned watching his mom and dad —pizza margherita, made from scratch, of course. And, as a child of the 90s, he’s probably listening to Nirvana or another classic grunge band while he’s making it.

His best memory during his nearly 20 years at Hy’s? Frank picks the day of the announcement that the Jets were returning to town. The Hy’s team watched the crowds celebrating outside the restaurant. “It meant a lot, not only as a hockey fan, but also because it meant that Hy’s would be able to share the excitement on game nights because we’re so close to the MTS Centre.”

It’s not surprising that the first word Frank mentioned when we asked him what he loved most about Winnipeggers was “loyalty”— whether to the Jets, to the Bombers or to their favourite restaurant. After over 50 great years in Winnipeg, Hy’s is privileged to be part of such a great community and to have Chef Frank in the kitchen!

Frank was recently featured in a double page spread from ‘Where Winnipeg’ – ‘Dining in the District’ (PDF File)