Recess is the ultimate culinary playground. Every day chef Greg Hardesty and his culinary team create a four-course pre-fixe dinner from scratch, using for inspiration the season’s freshest local and regional ingredients.
Greg Hardesty is one of the most important figures in the Indiana culinary renaissance of the past decade. A three time James Beard award semifinalist and eight year veteran of Taste of the NFL, as well as the subject of numerous mentions in publications such as the New York Times and USA Today, Hardesty is one of Indianapolis’ most accomplished chefs. Simple flavors and superlative ingredients inspire Chef Hardesty’s cuisine. With every dish he creates for the ever changing menu at Recess, Hardesty’s respect for the integrity of the ingredients shines through.
A native of Indiana, Hardesty graduated from Indiana University in 1991. In 1995 Hardesty moved to Los Angeles where he gained formative experience working under Chef Joachim Splichal, first at Café Pinot and later as the opening sous chef of Splichal’s third venture, Pinot Hollywood. During his time in Los Angeles, Hardesty developed his passion for fresh ingredients and simple flavors. After leaving Pinot Hollywood, Hardesty worked at Rubicon in San Francisco where he was quickly promoted to sous chef. At Rubicon, Hardesty’s culinary style continued to evolve and he developed a deep appreciation for the relationship between simple, flawlessly executed food and great wine. Hardesty left Rubicon in 1998 and returned to Indianapolis to start a family with wife and high school sweet heart, Susan.
In 2000, Hardesty opened his first Indianapolis restaurant, H2O Sushi. In 2003 Hardesty opened Elements, a farm-to-table restaurant before farm-to-table was a national phenomena. After selling H2O in 2004, Hardesty continued to enjoy success and respect at Elements, where in addition to elevating Indianapolis’ burgeoning fine dining scene, Hardesty trained and mentored promising young chefs. In April of 2008, Hardesty sold Elements and took a brief hiatus from the restaurant industry.
Hardesty opened Recess, his culinary playground, in 2010. At Recess, Hardesty changes the menu daily to display the finest available ingredients. From heirloom tomatoes and hand picked ramps to Indiana beef and the finest Toro, Hardesty presents only the best on his plates at Recess. In 2011, Hardesty opened Room 4, a casual dining spot adjoining Recess. At Room 4, Hardesty indulges his love of a great cheeseburger as well as his more elevated culinary instincts, presenting basic dishes with a playful twist in a daily changing menu.
When not in the kitchen, Hardesty enjoys a cold beer and a Colts victory.