In Scottsdale, Ariz., the Hotel Valley Ho has a new executive chef starting early next year. Russell LaCasce was previously the executive sous chef at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa in Paradise Valley, and will succeed Charles Wiley, who has been with the Valley Ho since 2005 and is leaving to become the executive chef for Mountain Shadows resort. (Wiley is the director of food and beverage for Westroc Hospitality, which developed and manages Valley Ho, Mountain Shadows, and Sanctuary.)
As the executive chef of Hotel Valley Ho, LaCasce will oversee the culinary aspects of the hotel’s signature restaurant, ZuZu, in-room dining, the OH Pool and OHasis Pool, banquets, and catering.
LaCasce has worked with Sanctuary Chef Beau MacMillan and Wiley for the past seven years, and plans to roll out new menus within the first two months of taking over the program. He described his food as creative, colorful, sleek, sexy, and approachable.
"My plan is to keep that kind of popular American retro feel that the Valley Ho is known for, and elevate it, and do the things that I know, that I’ve been successful with," he told the Phoenix New Times.
LaCasce started his career in Charleston, South Carolina, as a dishwasher and moved to Scottsdale ten years ago. He holds a culinary arts degree from the Arizona Culinary Institute and has worked with Chef Lee Hillson at T. Cook’s at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix. He joined Sanctuary in 2010 as the morning sous chef and was named executive sous chef in 2011.