Hotels name new culinary leaders in August

Hotels and resorts across North America have named new culinary leaders for their restaurants this month. Here are a few names to know:

Fairmont Kea Lani, Hawaii

Michael Lofaro is the new executive chef at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Hawaii. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Lofaro started his culinary career in 1998 as roundsman and sous chef under Michael Mina at Aqua, San Francisco. He later moved on to sauté cook and roundsman for Tom Valenti at Quest NYC. In 2002, Lofaro returned to Maui when he worked at Capische Restaurant as sous chef, and later took the helm of The Mills Tavern in Providence as executive chef. Lofaro returned to Hawaii as chef de cuisine of Humuhumunukunukuāpua‘a in 2006 and was subsequently promoted to his most recent role as executive sous chef, Grand Wailea in 2014.

JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort, Arizona

JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa has named Eric Duchene as executive chef of the 453-room resort (with seven restaurants and lounges) and John Fraser as senior sous chef of the property’s Lincoln Steakhouse & Bar. 

Originally from Toulon, France, Duchene began his culinary career with Marriott as a chef de partie at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman before his tenure at Periwinkle Restaurant as the sous chef. In 2012, Duchene joined The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, where he held several leadership positions within the culinary team. Before his role at JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, Duchene held multifaceted positions at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey, including executive sous chef in 2016 and executive chef in 2017. 

After graduating from the California Culinary Academy’s Le Cordon Bleu program, Fraser began his career as a cook at San Francisco’s Cliff House Restaurant. In 2015, Fraser traveled to Shanghai to launch an international farm-to-table concept, Hunter Gatherer. Upon his return to the U.S., Fraser joined Scotland Yard in San Francisco and helped launch Finn Town Tavern’s menu in San Francisco before joining Rusty’s Southern as the executive chef. 

Arlo Wynwood, Florida

When Arlo Wynwood, the first hotel in Miami’s Wynwood Art District, opens in the fall, its food and drink operations will be overseen by culinary and cocktail collective Bar Lab. The company has teamed up with Brad Kilgore to develop and operate the signature restaurant at the all-new, nine-story hotel. 

A finalist for James Beard “Best Chef: South” and Food & Wine “Best New Chefs in America” alumnus, Kilgore started his career at three-star Michelin restaurants Alinea and L20 before moving to Miami, where his first stop was Azul at the Mandarin Oriental. Next, he ran Jean-Georges Grill at the St. Regis Bal Harbor. In 2015, Kilgore opened Alter in Wynwood, and most recently became the culinary director of The Concours Club with his signature restaurant Verge. 

At Arlo Wynwood, Kilgore and the team will develop a Florida-inspired brasserie.

Cedarbrook Lodge, Washington

Seattle’s Cedarbrook Lodge has appointed David Mitchell as the property’s executive chef. Mitchell is returning to Cedarbrook, where he previously served as chef du cuisine, and will oversee the food and beverage team at the hotel, which is managed and operated by Columbia Hospitality. This includes the Copperleaf Restaurant & Bar. 

Mitchell has more than 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry with a strong focus on French cuisine. He began his career in San Francisco restaurants before moving to the Pacific Northwest in 2005 to serve as executive sous chef at the Harborside Bistro. Most recently he served as executive chef at The Heathman Hotel in Kirkland, leading the culinary team at Hearth as well as the hotel’s catering program.  

Semiahmoo Resort, Washington

In Blaine, Wash., the Semiahmoo Resort, Golf, and Spa (also managed and operated by Columbia Hospitality) has appointed Micah Windham as executive chef. He will be leading the culinary team for the property's three on-site restaurants: Packers Kitchen + Bar, Great Blue Heron Grill and Seaview Café. At Great Blue Heron Grill and Seaview Café, Windham will develop new menu items with local ingredients.  

Windham has more than 25 years of culinary and restaurant management experience. He began his career in 1996, where he worked his way up to chef de cuisine at Salish Lodge & Spa, which became a Columbia Hospitality managed property during his time there. He moved to Florida in 2008 and managed multiple restaurants and country clubs across the state for over 10 years. Most recently, he was chef de cuisine at Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra, Fla. 

Originally from Snoqualmie, Wash., Windham attended Seattle Central College, where he studied culinary arts and hospitality management. 

Antrim 1844, Maryland

The Smokehouse Restaurant at Antrim 1844 in ​​Taneytown, Md., has appointed Inti Villalobos-Coady as executive chef. In his new position, Villalobos-Coady will be responsible for the dining experiences in the Smokehouse Restaurant, weddings, corporate retreats and private dining events.

Villalobos-Coady has nearly 19 years of culinary experience. Most recently, he was the executive chef at Vermilion in Alexandria, Va. Villalobos-Coady has held leadership roles at restaurants like 2941 in Falls Church, Va., and Brabo Brasserie in Alexandria. 

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Villalobos-Coady started as a dishwasher at 13 years old and graduated from The Culinary Institute of America. 

Fairmont Pacific Rim, British Columbia

The Lobby Lounge & RawBar at the Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver, British Columbia, has tapped local chef Masayoshi as consulting head sushi chef, leading the culinary direction of a signature Omakase sushi and nigiri program launching this month. 

Masayoshi has spent the past 20 years in kitchens across Japan and British Columbia, specializing in Japanese cuisine as well as utilizing his culture’s cooking techniques across multicultural fare. In Japan, he trained as an apprentice in restaurants in Yamaguchi and Fukuoka prefectures, where he learned how to prepare fugu. At the age of 25, Masayoshi moved to Canada, spending a decade under the leadership of Hidekazu Tojo at his eponymous Vancouver restaurant.  

In 2015, Masayoshi opened his own namesake restaurant in Vancouver, which exclusively serves nigirizushi. 

Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel, Nebraska

The Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel, located in the Blackstone District of Omaha, Neb., has appointed Leah Meyer as pastry chef. Meyer will oversee all pastry operations at the newly updated historic property, leading a team in designing dessert offerings for five onsite food-and-beverage outlets, banqueting occasions, in-room dining and assorted guest amenities. 

Meyer joins Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel from The Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach, Fla., where, as pastry supervisor, she led a team fashioning pastries for three outlets and banquets. She also was the point person for wedding cake production and design. 

Previously, Meyer spent two years as a chocolatier for Norman Love Confections in Fort Meyers, Fla. Meyer also spent time as a cake decorator at Smallcakes in Fort Meyers and as a pastry cook at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. She got her start as a chocolate intern at Atelier Melissa Coppel in Las Vegas. 

Raised in Warwick, Md., Meyer earned a Bachelor of Science in baking and pastry arts from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I.

Post Ranch Inn, California

The Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, Calif., has promoted several members of its culinary team. Reylon Agustin now serves as culinary director and his longtime colleague Il Hoon Kang is the new executive chef of the Sierra Mar restaurant. 

Agustin came to Post Ranch Inn in 2021, and has spent the past year updating the F&B programs at the resort to focus on local ingredients in Monterey County. His new role as culinary director for Post Ranch Inn will extend his focus on ingredient-driven dining. 

Il Hoon Kang was promoted to executive chef from executive sous chef. In his new role, Hoon drives menu development for Sierra Mar, along with additional culinary touch-points throughout the property, from in-room dining to forthcoming dining experiences currently in development.  

Hoon joined Post Ranch Inn last year from Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, Calif., where he had been executive sous chef and chef de cuisine of the Michelin-starred Madera Restaurant. During his six years at the property, he worked closely with Reylon, who had previously been the property's executive chef. He's held top positions at other Northern California restaurants, including Commis in Oakland, The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena, and Auberge Resort's Calistoga Ranch in Calistoga.