The Knickerbocker's new F&B curator and 8 other hirings

(Knickerbocker New York restaurant)

The Knickerbocker in New York City appointed Jennie Yip as in-house lifestyle and cultural curator for the hotel’s three food-and-beverage outlets. Yip will advise and conceptualize F&B programming through for the fourth-floor signature restaurant, Charlie Palmer at The Knick; coffee roaster and eatery, Jake’s; and the rooftop bar, St. Cloud.

“Jennie’s vast experience advising the top hoteliers and restaurateurs makes her the ideal choice for The Knickerbocker,” said Shawn Hauver, managing director. “She brings a fresh enthusiasm to the hotel and will help take our dining and nightlife concepts to the next level.”

Yip’s experience in the culinary and hospitality industry spans over two decades, having worked with owners, operators and developers as partners and consultants in various projects throughout the hospitality industry. Collaborations have included ground-breaking hotels such as Gramercy Park Hotel, Delano Hotel and Mercer Hotel. She has also worked directly with celebrity hoteliers and restaurateurs including Ian Schrager, Geoffrey Zakarian, Andre Balazs and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Yip has plans to roll out programming initiatives across all three dining venues that will journey far beyond the palate and range from customized services for exclusive guests to a curated music and nightlife series like the Full Moon Parties.

“I am eager to work alongside renowned Chef Charlie Palmer and build upon the hotel’s already progressive F&B programming, which has quickly become a culinary staple in New York City,” said Yip. “It is an honor to become a part of the Knickerbocker’s ever-expanding Curator Program and I am thrilled to implement programming that will enhance the overall guest experience from sun-up to turndown.”

Eight other hotels made major F&B announcements recently:

Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia restaurant

1. Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia

The hotel appointed Alex Stratta as chef de cuisine of Prado, the resort’s signature restaurant.  In his role as chef de cuisine, Stratta’s first seasonal menu will incorporate his unique flair and passion for Spanish cuisine, while honoring Arizona and its culture. Utilizing community-based relationships with farmers to provide quality products, Stratta’s cooking methods are based on historical Spanish traditions. Prior to joining Prado, Stratta served as executive chef of Alex and Stratta at Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas, where he assisted in the development and operation of the two award-winning restaurant concepts.

2. Hotel Granduca Austin

This Texas property announced the newest addition to the hotel team, Joseph Pena, as manager of Visconti Ristorante & Bar. The Tuscan-inspired boutique hotel opened last fall. Pena will oversee all aspects of restaurant operations, from foodservice to special dining events. Prior to joining the Hotel Granduca team, Pena was the director of wine and service and maitre d’ at The Driskill Grill at The Driskill Hotel in Austin.

3. Harbour Village Beach Club

The only luxury resort on the island of Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean, appointed Sebastiaan Vink as chef de cuisine. In this role, Vink manages all culinary operations for Harbour Village Beach Club and its signature oceanfront restaurant, La Balandra Restaurant and Bar. Hailing from Holland, Vink comes to Harbour Village Beach Club with more than 22 years of industry experience and international influences. 

Chaminade Resort & Spa restaurant

4. Chaminade Resort & Spa

Nicholas Church is the new executive chef for this hotel in Santa Cruz, Calif. Church is a veteran of the culinary arts and of Chaminade Resort & Spa. For nearly two decades he actively contributed in the resort’s kitchens, initially as line cook, and eventually as executive sous chef. The resort also named Kirsten Ponza director of food and beverage. Ponza previously was executive chef for Chaminade Resort & Spa, a position to which she was appointed in 2013. She has also served as executive sous chef and as pastry chef for the resort. 

5. The Beverly Hilton

Alberico Nunziata was named executive chef. Nunziata will be responsible for overseeing the menus and staff of CIRCA 55, in addition to banquet operations, in-room dining and menus for the hotel’s high-profile events and galas. Nunziata will also be updating the pool menu for The Beverly Hilton’s Aqua Star Pool and introducing a poolside “Aperitivo Hour” menu of appetizers and light bites. Prior to joining The Beverly Hilton, Nunziata most recently acted as executive chef at Hotel Casa del Mar in Santa Monica, Calif.

Park Hyatt Aviara Resort restaurant

6. Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa

The resort in Carlsbad, Calif., announced the appointment of Christopher Rull as pastry chef. Joining the resort from Aria Resort and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Rull will be responsible for designing and producing desserts for banquets, catering and the five on-property restaurants.

7. Belmond El Encanto

This Santa Barbara, Calif., resort named Johan Denizot executive chef. Joining the resort from Bacara Resort & Spa in Goleta, Calif., he will be spearheading the creation of the resort’s seasonal menus, rotating every few months and highlighting the freshest local ingredients that are abundant for the season, along with a revamped ‘Bellini Brunch’ menu served on The Terrace each Sunday. 

 8. The Resort at Pedregal

The Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, property welcomed Gustavo Pinet as its new executive chef. Pinet brings his culinary prowess in Mexican fine-dining and international techniques to The Resort at Pedregal’s culinary program, including its four premier culinary destinations. He is also responsible for menu development, staff training, supervising culinary presentations and ensuring exceptional experiences for all guests of the premier luxury resort.