Hotels and resorts in cities across the country have named new leaders for their food-and-beverage operations in the past few weeks.

Baccarat Hotel New York

Baccarat Hotel New York named Ashfer Biju as executive chef. In this role, he will oversee all food and beverage operations at the hotel including the Grand Salon, The Bar, Le Jardin and in-room dining.

Biju brings more than 25 years of culinary experience to this new position, having held leadership positions at a number of restaurants around the globe. Before joining Baccarat, Biju spent 12 years as the executive chef and food-and-beverage director at The Pierre Hotel in New York City. Throughout his career, he has worked in Mauritius, Seychelles, the United Kingdom, the Maldives and India, his home country. Biju began his career with Oberoi Hotels & Resorts in New Delhi. In his role, Biju will collaborate with Gabriel Kreuther, Baccarat’s culinary director. 

The Ballantyne

The Ballantyne, A Luxury Collection Hotel in Charlotte, N.C., promoted Michael Bobb to executive chef. Bobb will oversee all culinary programming for hotel and lead the team at the hotel’s signature restaurant Gallery. He also will be responsible for the menu development at each of the hotel’s dining outlets, as well as leading the hotel’s food and beverage team.
Growing up in Missouri, Bobb became interested in cooking while watching his father make meals over an open campfire. He attended Johnson & Wales in Charlotte, N.C., and after his culinary internship at Charlotte City Club, he became the chef de partie for The Ballantyne Hotel in 2011. Since then, he worked his way up to executive sous chef before his most recent appointment.

Bardessono Hotel & Spa and Hotel Yountville Resort & Spa

Rick Edge is the new executive chef at Bardessono Hotel & Spa and Hotel Yountville Resort & Spa, where he will oversee all outlets and banquets at the hotels, including Lucy Restaurant & Bar at Bardessono and Heritage Oak at Hotel Yountville.

Edge has 30 years of experience at hotels and restaurants in major west coast markets, Boston and New York City. He began his career with Pacific's Edge restaurant at Hyatt Carmel Highlands, later joining the PlumpJack Group, where he oversaw multiple restaurants over the years, before leading teams in culinary locations like Indian Springs Calistoga, Napa Valley Country Club and RH Yountville Restaurant. 


Reconceptualizing its culinary program, CordeValle in San Martin, Calif., appointed Nicola Cavicchini as the property's new executive chef. In this role, Cavicchini will draw from his previous experience working in restaurants and hotels across the country to reconceptualize the property’s culinary essence, melding Northern Italian influences with fresh local ingredients from California-based farmers and purveyors.

Cavicchini brings more than eight years of experience at luxury resorts to his new role, having worked at the Rosewood Miramar Beach and Four Seasons Maui, where he was the senior chef de cuisine and the chef de cuisine, respectively.  

Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

In Galena, Ill., Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa appointed Chad Myers as the new chef de cuisine for Woodlands Restaurant & Lounge. Myers will oversee the culinary operations of the restaurant including menu planning; sourcing products by partnering with local farmers, butchers, fisherman and artisans; and overseeing the entire kitchen.

Myers attended Le Cordon Bleu culinary school. Before his current role as chef de cuisine of Woodlands, he was the executive chef at the Dubuque Golf & Country Club; worked at Water Street Market, Bellevue; was a lead line cook at Caroline’s at Hotel Julien Dubuque and Dubuque Greyhound Park & Casino (now Q Casino); and also worked in a culinary capacity at Potter’s Mill, Bellevue, Silver Spoon Restaurant (East Dubuque, Ill.), and Copper Kettle, Dubuque.

Four Seasons Resort Lanai

Alvin Dela Cruz is the new executive chef at Four Seasons Resort Lanai in Hawaii. Dela Cruz will oversee the resort's culinary program, including the American-Hawaiin steakhouse and seafood restaurant One Forty, in-room dining and catering offerings. 

Born in the Philippines and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area,  Dela Cruz graduated from the California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu. He also held positions at Montage Los Cabos and Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, as well as various progressive roles within The Ritz-Carlton network across the U.S. 

Hyatt Regency Indian Wells

The Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa appointed Omar Salinas as its new executive chef. A veteran of the Hyatt hospitality brand, Salinas will oversee the resort’s culinary operations including Lantana, the resort’s signature restaurant.

A native Texan, Salinas’ culinary journey began in Las Vegas where he worked in multiple Michelin-starred dining establishments. He was sous chef for the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa before joining the Grand Hyatt Washington D.C. as executive sous chef, where he led a culinary campaign for both intimate functions and large-scale events. Before joining the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells, Salinas returned to his home state of Texas as executive sous chef of the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa.

The Lytle Park Hotel

The Lytle Park Hotel, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection managed by Pyramid Global Hospitality in Cincinnati, appointed Chris McCutcheon as director of food & beverage and Lindsay Laubenstein as beverage manager to lead the property’s food and beverage program.

McCutcheon has more than 11 years of leadership experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. In his new role, McCutcheon will oversee all food and beverage operations for the hotel’s restaurants including in-room dining and catering services. Most recently, McCutcheon was director of restaurants at Reunion Resort in Orlando. During this time, he earned an MBA from Louisiana State University at Shreveport while also completing his Level 1 introductory certification with the Court of Master Sommeliers. Putting his new skillset to use, McCutcheon created a wine program at Reunion Resort that later earned a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.

McCutcheon began his career serving and bartending at the Jerome Bettis Grille and as a fine-dining server at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association while attending college at Point Park University. He then moved to Orlando and joined the food and beverage team at Reunion Resort as a manager. He continued his career growth as the assistant director of food and beverage at the Mission Inn Resort and Golf Club before returning to Reunion Resort, then finally landing in Cincinnati.

Laubenstein has more than 20 years of experience spanning cocktail creation, bar and spirit menu development, corporate and private restaurant openings and bar systems operations. Before joining The Lytle Park Hotel, Laubenstein worked at The Phoenix in downtown Cincinnati as the beverage director and bartender where she managed the beverage team and personalized drink and cocktail pairing menus for special events. She also managed the bar program at Palm Court at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, and held a variety of beverage operations roles in her tenure from spirits marketing manager to whiskey guardian at Angel’s Envy, and consulted for, built and managed several craft bar programs around the city.

Laubenstein also spent six years as vice president and president for local chapters of the United States Bartenders’ Guild.

Mar Monte Hotel

Mar Monte Hotel, part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand, appointed Sean Conway as executive chef. Conway will oversee the hotel’s two restaurants—Costa Kitchen & Bar and Café Lido—as well as other culinary initiatives on property from weddings and events to culinary programming and partnerships.

Conway’s culinary career spans over two decades. Before joining Mar Monte Hotel, Conway was executive sous chef at Kimpton Canary Santa Barbara, and before that was executive sous chef of Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez Valley. Conway also held various head chef positions throughout California including executive chef at Hotel Erwin, Banquet Chef and Bel-Air Bay Club and executive sous chef at Hotel Casa del Mar. Conway’s past experience also includes chef roles at Bellagio Vegas and Four Seasons Hotel New York. He also was sous chef at Craft Restaurant by Tom Collichio before that.

Park Hyatt Aviara

The Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad, Calif., appointed Carlos A. Batista as its director of food and beverage.

In his new role, Batista will lead the culinary team and oversee all food and beverage operations throughout the property, from banquet dining to the resort’s dining venues.

Before joining Park Hyatt Aviara, Batista spent two decades overseeing the food and beverage programs at Thompson Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk; Shore Club Hotel South Beach (Fla.); the Fontainebleau resort Miami Beach, Fla.; and Wynn Resort Casino in Las Vegas. He is a level-one wine sommelier, holds several mixology and spirits certifications, is the founder and CEO of beverage training website and the author of the book series: Guidance in Mixology, Pairing & Enjoying Life’s Finer Things

Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay appointed pastry professional Joanna Kaskiw to its culinary team. Kaskiw began her culinary career in 2013, upon graduating cum laude from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. With a bachelors and associates degree in Science, Baking and Pastry Arts, she joined The Walt Disney Company to work as a Summer Pastry Intern at the Contemporary Resort. She returned to Rhode Island to work as a kitchen manager at Sweet Indulgence, developing experience in operations and management. This led her back to Orlando, where she was a pastry cook at The Ritz-Carlton & JW Marriott Orlando. During her nine-year tenure at the luxury property, Kaskiw was promoted to pastry chef. 

In her new role, Kaskiw will work alongside Executive Chef Roberto Riveros and Navio's Chef de Cuisine Francisco Simón to round out the resort’s culinary leadership team. Within the pastry program, she will manage several culinary team members across the resort’s dining venues, including Navio and The Conservatory.