Kimpton Hotels hires chef as director of culinary development

Food on plates

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants announced that Chef George Morrone, a distinguished, award-winning Bay Area chef, will join the company as director of culinary development. The hiring of Morrone is part of Kimpton’s larger strategic plan to further develop the restaurant group’s culinary expertise while simultaneously building upon the brand’s global reputation.

This is Morrone’s second tenure with Kimpton. From 1998 to 2000, he served as executive chef at Kimpton’s former Fifth Floor restaurant in San Francisco. He was instrumental in positioning Fifth Floor as one of the city’s most successful fine-dining establishments and helped build national credibility for the restaurant group.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Chef George Morrone back to the Kimpton family not only on a personal level, but because he’s uniquely qualified for this position,” said Alex Taylor, Kimpton’s SVP, restaurants & bars. “George has concepted and led countless top-notch restaurants, mentored leading chefs and refined his own personal culinary flair. We look forward to the immediate impact his creative insights and industry expertise will have on our brand as we introduce our restaurant group to the global marketplace.”

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In his new role, Morrone assumes direct responsibility for recruiting top chefs and talent from around the world. He also serves as a strategic lead with Kimpton’s development teams to create restaurant concepts for new and existing markets. Additionally, he will advance the company’s national culinary initiatives and provide oversight of the company’s culinary taskforce, uniting independently driven chefs and evolving existing menus.

The past two decades have marked an impressive trajectory for Morrone. Following his graduation from The Culinary Institute of America, diners, critics, and culinary peers alike have heralded him as one of the most inspired and accomplished chefs in the country. His ascent started after culinary school as part of the opening team for chef Charlie Palmer at the River Café in Brooklyn, New York. From New York, he moved west to San Francisco to work with chef Bradley Ogden as executive sous chef at Campton Place Hotel. He continued on to become the youngest-ever executive chef at LA’s Hotel Bel-Air; later returning to San Francisco to partner with Charles Condy as the executive chef and restaurateur at Aqua, where he earned his first four-star review.  After Aqua, he went on to open the Blue Door restaurant in the Delano Hotel in South Beach, Miami.

After the Delano Hotel, Morrone once again returned to San Francisco to join the Kimpton Group and was part of the opening team at the acclaimed Palomar Hotel. As executive chef of the Fifth Floor, he earned a second four-star accolade, and was the first Bay Area chef to be awarded the honor twice.

After the Fifth Floor, Morrone served as the consulting chef at Wildfire restaurant in Sydney with chef Mark Miller. His time in Australia inspired his next venture in San Francisco with restaurant Tartare. During the same period, he published a cookbook titled “Simply Elegant Soup,” and concepted one of the first Argentinian restaurants in the Bay Area, Boca restaurant. Prior to re-joining Kimpton Group, Morrone consulted in Las Vegas, Napa Valley, the historic Cliff House and the Corinthian Yacht Club during America’s Cup.

According to Morrone, who lives in San Francisco, “I’m ecstatic to step into this new role at such an exciting time for Kimpton. I look forward to working closely with our talented chefs and their teams to push the culinary envelope. I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be right now in my career.”

 As part of its plan to expand its culinary empire, Kimpton announced last week that it will manage a new, luxury lifestyle boutique hotel in Tampa, Florida, that will incorporate a restaurant from Michelin-starred Tuscan chef Silvia Baracchi. The property, which is slated to open in early 2018, further expands Kimpton’s footprint on the gulf coast of the Sunshine State and will be its seventh hotel in Florida. 

The new-construction will feature 150 rooms and suites spanning five stories, along with a rare Tampa rooftop bar that highlights the spectacular sunsets as well as separate rooftop event space for weddings and special gatherings.

The new Tampa hotel will also house the first U.S. outpost for Baracchi, who gained international acclaim at Il Falconiere, a Michelin-starred restaurant and retreat in Cortona, Tuscany. The intimate fine-dining restaurant will be supplied by a new off-site, state-of-the-art hydroponic farm named Red Barn Farm, which will devote nearly eight acres of climate-controlled growing capacity exclusively to the property (but guests can still catch a glimpse of the growing techniques thanks to a showpiece vertical garden). The dinner-only restaurant will feature a menu that reflects a sophisticated and stylish take on the culinary traditions of the Tuscan countryside, and Baracchi also plans to bring her signature cooking classes to the local community.

The hotel will also feature a second restaurant where guests can enjoy three casual meals a day and a bakery that will also serve coffee, snacks and café-style fare. All dining experiences will be complemented by abundant live music and performance art. 

And at the end of April, the company opened Mason & Rook, a Kimpton Hotel, Washington, D.C. Adjacent to the 178-room hotel is Radiator, a culinary-focused cocktail bar featuring contemporary American small plates with global influences imagined by executive chef Jonathan Dearden. The eclectic menu complements a dynamic beverage program by lead bartender Sarah Rosner, which includes curated whiskeys, off-the-beaten path spirits, crafted classics and a discerning selection of local beers and wines.

Radiator features a 57-seat bar area, a separate 23-seat lounge area with several nooks for intimate gatherings, an outdoor 50-seat patio with a large fire pit, and a shuffleboard court and games such as backgammon, dominoes, checkers and chess available throughout the space. Hotel guests can also experience Radiator’s cuisine through 24-hour room service.

Source: Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants

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