Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita is losing one of its most recognizable chefs

Chef Paul Freimuth is a past winner of the Old Town Farmers Market’s Iron Chef cookoff.
Chef Paul Freimuth is a past winner of the Old Town Farmers Market’s Iron Chef cookoff. The Wichita Eagle

If you’ve ever attended a local charity event that involves chefs, you’ve likely seen him.

But you won’t see him again.

Paul Freimuth, who has served as the executive chef at the Hyatt Regency since early 2011, is leaving Wichita to take a job at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Va. His last day in Wichita is Friday.

Freimuth is well known for participating in just about every charity event and cook off that involves local chefs, including the Iron Chef competition at the Old Town Farmer’s Market, the Orpheum’s Celebrity & Chef Cookoff and more. He’s the one with the mustache and the refined technique.

As of June 1, the hotel will become the property of casino magnate Phil Ruffin, who bought it from the City of Wichita for $20 million.

Freimuth said he could have and would have liked to have stayed, but it’s more beneficial to him to stay with a corporate-owed Hyatt rather than a franchise. He moved to Wichita in 2011 to replace David Wirebaugh, who went to the Hyatt in San Antonio. Freimuth had previously worked at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City.

Freimuth’s sous chef, Travis Joy, who also puts on farm-to-table dinners under the title Local Craft, said he is not yet sure what his future is at The Hyatt but promised to keep me updated.

Having judged many of the events where Freimuth competed, I have gotten to know him over the years, and I will miss his warmth, professionalism and top-rate culinary skills.