Companies, hotels and resorts across North America have named new leaders for their food and beverage operations in the past two weeks.
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina appoints Brett LaReau as executive chef of Mina’s Fish House, the line-to-table beachside restaurant by Michael Mina. LaReau will oversee all culinary operations of the beachside restaurant, including menu collaboration with Mina.
LaReau brings more than 15 years of culinary experience, specifically in Forbes Five-Star restaurants, to his new role. He joins Ko Olina from Tableau at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas as assistant chef, where under his direction the restaurant maintained the coveted Forbes Five-Star ranking. Prior to Tableau, he served as assistant chef at Sinatra at the Wynn Resort. LaReau has also held various culinary roles at the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group in Las Vegas.
Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita
Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita on Mexico's western coast appoints Michael Rodriguez as new food and beverage director. With a career spanning over a decade in the luxury hospitality industry, Rodriguez brings a wealth of experience, coming off back-to-back new hotel openings and a renovation.
Rodriguez began his hospitality career at Westin La Cantera Resort in San Antonio before joining the Four Seasons at the Dallas Las Colinas property as a food and beverage management trainee. Over the years, his dedication propelled him towards leadership roles, ultimately joining the Four Seasons Resort Orlando opening team as the general manager of their signature restaurant. His next venture began at the Fairmont Hotel Austin, where he served as the assistant director of food and beverage, overseeing the development of more than eight dining outlets. Returning to the Four Seasons family in 2021, Rodriguez took on the role director of food and beverage in Houston. During his tenure, he successfully managed the renovation and launch of Toro Toro as well as the speakeasy Bandista.
Denver-based Halcyon adds Todd Oyadomari as director of food and beverage. With nearly two decades in hospitality management, Oyadomari is an accomplished and results-focused executive with extensive experience in revenue growth and optimization, and devising team building, training and development strategies. Oyadomari’s career is highlighted by several roles including general manager at Morimoto Waikiki in Honolulu; regional general manager and beverage director at Black House Hospitality in Los Angeles; and general manager of The Bungalow at The Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica, Calif.
At Halcyon, Oyadomari will oversee multiple dining concepts, including B&GC, an underground cocktail club; Local Jones, a neighborhood American eatery; and the brand-new Rare Bird, a lively rooftop bar.
Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino
Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino appoints Yvan Didelot as its director of culinary experience and F&B operations. In his role, Didelot will share his talent and experience as both a chef and leader to further elevate the resort’s gastronomic and mixology offerings. His primary focus will be to build on the new identity of Ruinas del Mar, the property’s signature restaurant, as well as existing and newly designed flavors for both food and tropical beverages throughout all dining venues.
Didelot brings to Aruba over two decades of experience acquired in various culinary venues such as the Mediterranean Islands, France, Chile, Brazil, Dubai, and most recently, New Orleans. His areas of expertise include hospitality management, food and beverage initiatives, strategic planning, and execution of top-tier cuisine.
InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco
Albert Tran joins the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco as its new director of food and beverage, and Damien Holloway will be Tran’s new assistant director of food and beverage.
Tran is a creative hotel executive with proven leadership abilities and over three decades of hospitality experience. Some of his duties at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins will involve working closely with the finance team to set, monitor and refine budgets and drive revenue; multitasking to oversee multiple teams, kitchens and food outlets capable of catering up to 500 people; creating a positive working environment for teams to thrive and linking up departments to create sense of one team; and achieving quality and high-level guest satisfaction goals by regularly communicating with guests to ensure expectations are met. He comes to the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco from the Embassy Suites in Milpitas, Calif., where he was director of food and beverage at a hotel with 267 suites, 15,000 square feet of function space and a $8.5 million revenue budget. Before that he was director of food and beverage at Spotlight 29 Casino Coachella, Calif. Other notable positions included director of banquet operations at San Francisco’s Sir Francis Drake Hotel, director of banquet operations at the Pullman San Francisco Bay Hotel in Redwood City, management task force for Starwood Hotels and San Francisco’s St. Regis, Hotel Vitale, and Westin St. Francis, and director of sales and marketing for the Four Points by Sheraton in Sunnyvale.
Holloway is the new assistant director of food and beverage. His responsibilities at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco comprise managing financial metrics related to labor management, expenses, revenue achievement and other project related expenses; ensuring all staff are properly trained; monitoring equipment and supplies; promoting teamwork and quality service through daily communication and coordination with other departments; and maintaining appropriate service recovery guidelines to ensure total guest satisfaction, among others. Most recently he was the restaurant general manager at Sessions at the Presidio in San Francisco, where he had overall operational responsibility for a seven-day-a-week restaurant with revenue of more than $3 million. He hired and trained staff there, as well as dealt with P&L. Previously, he was the director of food and beverage at the Omni San Francisco Hotel, where he was responsible for F&B financial performance as well as implementing F&B visions and strategies. Additional appointments have included B&F talent coach at the W Hotel in San Francisco and director of outlets at the Wyndham Park 55 Hotel in San Francisco.
Luminary Hotel & Co.
Luminary Hotel & Co., Fort Myers, Fla., appoints Joe Pankrath as its new executive chef and Caneale Mills as director of food and beverage for all outlets at the hotel, including The Silver King Ocean Brasserie, Ella Mae’s Diner, Beacon Social Drinkery, Dean Street Coffee Roastery & Retail, Oxbow Bar & Grill, and Chips Sports Pub.
Pankrath joins Luminary Hotel & Co. with more than two decades of culinary experience in the hotel and restaurant industry. His career includes significant roles such as senior sous chef at the Renaissance Chicago, executive sous chef at JW Marriott Marco Island, and, most recently, the complex executive chef at JW Marriott Tampa Water Street.
With nearly 20 years in the hospitality industry, Mills joins Luminary Hotel & Co. from the ChampionsGate Country Club in Davenport, Fla., where she served as general manager. She has previously was restaurant manager at JW Marriott Grande Lakes and director of restaurants at the Orlando World Center Marriott. Mills also served as director of food and beverage at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra from 2014 to 2020.
Paséa Hotel & Spa
Paséa Hotel & Spa, the Huntington Beach, Calif.-based Meritage Collection hotel, adds a new director of food and beverage Vincent Savignano to help lead the revamp of its food and beverage program. The hotel’s dining venues will undergo a $5 million renovation, opening a new restaurant concept on the ground floor where Tanner’s Restaurant currently sits.
The renovations and new concept will be under the purview of Savignano. Before joining Pasèa, Savignano oversaw the entire food and beverage operation at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa as director of food and beverage, following his three-year term as the hotel’s executive chef.
Rosewood Miramar Beach
Rosewood Miramar Beach, Santa Barbara, Calif., promotes James Verlinden to the position of director of food and beverage, overseeing the resort’s outlets including Caruso’s, AMA Sushi, Miramar Beach Bar, The Manor Bar, the resort’s banquet operations and private members-only club, Miramar Club.
Having been an integral part of the Rosewood Miramar Beach team since its grand opening, Verlinden has steadily risen through the ranks, most recently serving as the assistant director of food and beverage. His journey with Rosewood began more than a decade ago in September 2013 at the Rosewood London. Prior to his tenure at Rosewood, Verlinden was at The Berkeley, where he gained experience as a food and beverage manager in training and event sales.
Stanly Ranch, Auberge Resorts Collection
Stanly Ranch, Auberge Resorts Collection, in Napa Valley, Calif., promotes Anthony Stagnaro to executive chef. Stagnaro has been with the hotel since before it opened. A native to California, he began his culinary career at 15 years old, working alongside his father who at the time was the executive chef at Edgewood Lake Tahoe. Stagnaro has gone on to cook alongside some of America’s most revered chefs, including Michael Voltaggio and Dominique Ansel. Most recently, he served as the chef de cuisine at The Grand Del Mar, a triple Five Diamond Resort in San Diego.
“Stanly Ranch has been home to me for the past several years, so I am overjoyed to begin this new role as the leader of our culinary team,” Stagnaro said in a statement. “Our signature restaurant, Bear, focuses on ingredients directly sourced from our neighborhood farmers, fermentation and seasonality. Beyond Bear, you have the locally-inspired Gavel, our poolside bar, aa prolific chef’s garden and even a new ice cream shop – making every dining experience at Stanly Ranch one-of-a-kind. I am excited to continue introducing unique culinary concepts to our local visitors and guests.”
Westin Atlanta Gwinnett
The Westin Atlanta Gwinnett has named Ashley Castillo its director of food and beverage and Robert Benett as its new executive chef.
In her role, Castillo will manage all dining, catering and room service operations at The Westin Atlanta Gwinnett, including the hotel’s signature rooftop bar and ground-level restaurant. With more than 15 years of progressive food and beverage experience, Castillo is a seasoned professional at leading teams, creating new food and beverage concepts, and ensuring exceptional hospitality, service and dining experiences for guests. She most recently served as the director of operations for Volet Hospitality in St. Petersburg, Fla., after working for various restaurant and hotel properties across the U.S.
With experience cooking in luxury hotels across the country and learning under the direction of celebrity chefs, Benett brings a wealth of knowledge with him to the hotel. He has served as the executive chef for hotel restaurants across the southeast in the last three years, previously at Hilton Charlotte University Place, Atlanta Marriott Buckhead Hotel and Hilton Atlanta Airport.