Hotels, hospitality companies name new F&B leaders

Companies and hotels across the U.S. have named new leaders for their food and beverage operations in the past two weeks.

Expotel Hospitality

Expotel Hospitality, owner, developer and manager, has hired industry executive Brent Baudier to serve as the company’s vice president of food and beverage and hospitality. A seasoned hospitality executive, Brent has more than 20 years of executive-level experience in the hospitality industry including resorts, private clubs and restaurants. During that time, Baudier served both the PGA TOUR and the PGA of America with increasing levels of responsibility focused on the operations of their respective portfolio of properties. After stewarding the F&B renovation and rebranding efforts for the PGA TOUR’s flagship resort, TPC Sawgrass, Baudier was promoted to the role of senior director of food and beverage for the PGA TOUR’s Resort Destination Properties in North America. 

Most recently, Baudier had served as the PGA of America's Golf Properties F&B expert. In doing so, he led the renovation and rebranding efforts of the PGA’s portfolio of properties, most notably the PGA of America’s 350-acre flagship resort in South Florida. Baudier was tasked with developing multiple F&B concepts and restoring the facility and its hospitality experience to levels commensurate with the PGA brand. In addition, Baudier has utilized his unique skillset as an independent consultant for many resorts, restaurants and clubs nationwide. 

The Hollywood Roosevelt

Craig Hopson is chef de cuisine of Shirley Brasserie at The Hollywood Roosevelt, the boutique hotel in Hollywood. With two decades of culinary experience working at Michelin-starred restaurants, Hopson oversees all culinary operations of the reimagined French-inspired brasserie. Hopson is committed to sourcing fresh, sustainable ingredients from local purveyors, elevating the dining experience and ensuring that each dish bursts with the authentic flavors of the region combined with modern French cooking techniques.

A native Australian, Hopson began his career apprenticing in his home country before relocating to Europe, where he was trained in the art of French cuisine at renowned institutions including Restaurant Guy Savoy and Lucas Carton in Paris. While in Europe, Hopson was mentored by Alain Senderens, who imparted the intricate techniques of nouvelle cuisine. Upon moving to New York City, Hopson continued to ascend the ranks within Manhattan's culinary scene. Hopson moved to Los Angeles seven years ago and most recently served as executive chef at The Strand House in Manhattan Beach.

Margaritaville Hotel San Diego Gaslamp Quarter

Margaritaville Hotel San Diego Gaslamp Quarter appoints Mike Minor as the new executive chef. In his role, Minor will manage and oversee all food and beverage operations at the hotel including LandShark Bar & Grill, 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar, the Margaritaville Coffee Shop, banquets and private dining experiences.

Minor joins Margaritaville Hotel San Diego Gaslamp Quarter most recently from La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, where he served as executive chef and led the culinary teams at the Marine Room, the Shores Restaurant, club dining and catering events. Previously, he served as executive chef at the acclaimed Border Grill in his hometown of Las Vegas, where he established his reputation for innovation and became nationally known for inspired dishes that are eye-catching and flavorful.

Marina del Rey Hotel

Marina del Rey Hotel appoints Garee Battad as the waterfront boutique hotel’s executive chef. A seasoned veteran with more than two decades of experience in the hospitality industry, Battad will be responsible for overseeing all culinary operations for the property, including the SALT Restaurant & Bar.

Battad began his culinary journey at the age of 17 under the guidance of an executive chef at Benihana. His interest quickly turned into a passion, leading him to attend the Art Institute of Dallas. From there, his culinary career led him to the renowned kitchens of Nobu at the Crescent Hotel, Charlie Palmer at the Joule Hotel, and the venerated mentorship of Tom Colicchio at the W Hotel. In 2009, Battad moved to Los Angeles to expand his culinary skills, where he worked under Gordon Ramsay at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, The Rose Café in Venice, The Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica, Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach and The Aster, a hotel and members’ club in Hollywood. 

McKibbon Hospitality

McKibbon Hospitality appoints Chad Crete as corporate food and beverage director for lifestyle hotels. A seasoned hospitality executive bringing more than 15 years of restaurant management and concept creation experience to McKibbon’s in-house food and beverage team, Crete will be responsible for supporting all food and beverage programs and independent restaurants within McKibbon’s portfolio of lifestyle hotel properties in addition to assisting with the development of new restaurant concepts, menus and design.

Crete got his start working in restaurants at the age of 14. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Administration from Cornell University, he moved to Las Vegas and assumed the role of restaurant manager for China Grill Management at Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, successfully developing a wine program implemented across four properties, leading all beverage purchases and training, and managing a team of 25 front-of-house employees. In 2009, he moved to Atlanta to help open The Iberian Pig, a Spanish-inspired tapas and wine restaurant. He joins McKibbon most recently from Whiskey Bird, an Atlanta-based American-Asian fusion restaurant, and its takeout component, Little Bird, where he served as co-founder, executive chef and director of operations.

Signia by Hilton Atlanta

Signia by Hilton Atlanta names its food and beverage leadership team and their respective positions ahead of the hotel's 2024 opening. Christian Quiñones is appointed executive chef. From Hilton Atlanta to W Hotel Brickell in Miami, he's been recognized as a top young chef of Puerto Rico. In this position, he will oversee all daily functions for eight food and beverage experiences and will oversee service, menu concepts, training, programming, and community engagement.

Jacob Linzey has been appointed director of food and beverage. Linzey is a hotel and restaurant specialist with extensive experience in overseeing multi-unit F&B operations in high-volume, luxury and full-service hotels. Previously, he worked in a similar capacity with Marriott Marquis, Doha, Qatar, and Ritz Carlton, St. Thomas, USVI. In this position, Linzey will be responsible for the strategy and operations of all eight food and beverage experiences at Signia by Hilton Atlanta.

Daniella Lea Rada has been appointed executive pastry chef at Signia by Hilton Atlanta. She was trained under chefs like Thierry Bamas and Pierre Mirgalet and her pastries at other venues in Atlanta like Four Seasons, St. Regis and Le Bon Nosh. She will conceptualize and prepare all house-made desserts, pastries and chocolates for all of the property’s eight food and beverage experiences.

Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa

Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa, part of the Noble House Hotels and Resorts collection of luxury hotels and resorts, appoints Troy Batten, the current executive chef of the hotel’s Spur Restaurant & Bar and Spur Catering, as the new area director of food and beverage. Batten began his career at Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa as lead cook 14 years ago. He moved up the ranks to sous chef, chef de cuisine, and finally to executive chef in 2019. Batten was instrumental in the success of Spur, helping with the rebrand of the restaurant, which continued gaining recognition with local residents and hotel guests alike and became the No. 1 restaurant in the area. 

Batten will oversee all aspects of service, planning and quality for the food and beverage operations at Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa and their newly renovated on-site restaurant, Spur Restaurant & Bar. Batten will also lead Spur Catering, which services groups, meetings and social events for both Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa and Hotel Terra Jackson Hole. Batten will continue to assist the culinary team during this transition. 

Virgin Hotels New Orleans

Virgin Hotels New Orleans appoints Chris Borges as executive chef of Commons Club, the property’s signature dining concept. Along his culinary journey, Borges has honed his skills at renowned dining destinations including Infusion Bar & Restaurant and Cindy Pawlcyn’s Roti in San Francisco. As executive chef of the Bay Area’s premier catering company, Taste Catering, Borges executed and led the culinary vision for several high-profile events including President Barack Obama’s Green Tech Dinner, Christina Aguilera’s wedding, numerous Pixar movie premieres, Academy of Friends Oscar Gala, and others.

Upon returning to New Orleans in 2017, Borges took over the culinary operations at The Ace Hotel New Orleans and Maison de la Luz, overseeing both properties’ banquet operations, as well as restaurants Josephine Estelle, Seaworthy, The Alto, and Bar Marilou.

Washington Hilton

James Wescoe is appointed as the Washington Hilton's executive chef. Wescoe brings over 20 years of culinary expertise to his role, having worked in destinations spanning from Chicago to Orlando with Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. In his new role, he oversees the servicing of notable events that have taken place over the years at the hotel like the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, Congressional Club’s First Lady’s Luncheon and the National Prayer Breakfast.

Wescoe completed his degree from The Culinary Institute of America, beginning his professional career in South Florida at The Biltmore Hotel Miami Coral Gables as chef de cuisine. Wescoe’s extensive background took him to various properties across Florida, Charlotte and Chicago. In 2012, he oversaw the servicing of the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina. He then returned to Florida as executive chef for banquets for the Bonnet Creek resorts, Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, leading culinary, stewarding and banquet purchasing for both hotels.