Chatting With Celeb Chef Katie Lee at the Hyatt Place Breakfast Bowl Challenge

We’ve all been there. You’re staying at a hotel and feeling the joy of being offered a complimentary breakfast (yay!) — and then you realize there is literally nothing you actually want to eat at the buffet (boo!).

Hyatt Place hotels across the U.S. and Canada aim to combat this issue by offering a selection of Breakfast Bowls and yogurt parfait stations at all of their locations. There is a different theme each day with cage-free eggs, proteins and Greek yogurt with flavors from sweet to savory, including the Classic American Bowl, the Little Italy Bowl and Southern Comfort Bowl.

(I am a big fan of the California Dreamin’ Bowl with eggs, ancient grains, kale, all-natural bacon and avocado salsa — yum!)

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Katie Lee with aspiring chef was Brooke DiResta, who won The Battle of the Breakfast Bowls.

To announce this new service, the folks at Hyatt Place held an event at their midtown New York location that included a reality show-style competition (“Hyatt Place #WhySettle Battle of the Breakfast Bowls”) hosted by none other than Food Network star and cookbook author Katie Lee. Five local culinary students from the Institute of Culinary Education were challenged to come up with unique breakfast bowl idea using 10 ingredients within 30 minutes.

Before the games began, I was lucky enough to get a one-on-one chat with Lee, who told me she is a big-time breakfast fan (me, too!) who never leaves home before getting something healthy in her tummy, like Greek yogurt, fruit and granola.

Wonder how she stays in shape while having a job where she travels so much and, in her words, “basically eats all day?” I did, too — so I asked her. Lee wakes up every day at 5:30 a.m. to exercise with her go-to being Tracy Anderson’s streaming videos. “Her arm workouts are no joke,” she said. Continuing the whole, “Stars! They’re just like us!” vibe, she shared the fact that workout tunes are essential: “I need good music to get motivated.” (Her current favorite workout jam is “Bad Liar” by Selena Gomez.)

As soon as the official competition began the smell of bacon and sausage filled the air, which made my hungry tummy woozy with desire, so I decided to chat with Steve Dominguez, Vice President of Global Brands for Hyatt Place and Hyatt House. Dominguez told me Hyatt Place decided to update their breakfast options after visitors began demanding a better experience. “They won’t settle for less and neither will we,” he explains.

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The winning bowl!

Culinary Education student chef Brooke DiResta created the winning dish called The Nomad Bowl which featured soft-boiled cage-free eggs, toasted ancient grains with kale, sausage crumbles and charred lemony asparagus ribbons. She won $10,000 for her efforts — which she plans to use to further her education. (Congratulations, Brooke!)

What would be in your dream breakfast bowl? —Margo

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