Onsite dining. Only a few years ago, the palettes of meeting attendees shuddered at those two words. Conference centers and hotels have wised-up and the onsite dining option has seen an industry-wide upgrade, ranging from exciting onsite restaurants to Food & Beverage personnel with gourmet pedigree. Often the most productive phase of a meeting comes when attendees relax together to break bread and have a few drinks. This F&B Spotlight focuses on onsite restaurants and new personnel—additional evidence that going offsite to seek a memorable meal is increasingly the exception, not the rule for meetings.
Prime Time Ready for Magnolia Hotel
The Magnolia Hotel & Spa in Victoria, British Columbia has furthered its reputation as a prime boutique Canadian Conference Center—the hotel offers intimate meeting space accommodating 28 boardroom-style or 50-theater style and has plans to add additional meeting rooms this summer. The Magnolia is also offering Prime as in meat with its newly opened, onsite Prime Steakhouse & Lounge. Touted as a steak lover's paradise—six cuts of steak gracing the menu—its Chef, Bruce Batty attributes the succulent flavor and tenderness of his bone-in New York steaks to the on-site dry aging process and the kitchen's Montague over-fired broiler—this seals in the flavor and juice with a crisp crust, according to Batty. In addition, the cuts of beef are from High River, Alberta and aged for 21-28 days minimum. Other menu items include lamb, seafood, poultry, pasta & Prime Rib as well as an extensive wine and liquor selection.The restaurant and lounge décor, courtesy of Rourke Group Design, features a massive 6-foot wide iron chandelier, opulent furnishings, floor to ceiling velvet drapes, leather & upholstered seating, custom-made bar stools, and a solid wood bar with a steer hide canopy. The color scheme, intended to produce a warm, relaxed atmosphere, is an earthy pallet of browns, beige, reds and gold. In the Prime Steakhouse restaurant, custom built stained & leaded glass dividers add privacy to newly upholstered booths, the perfect place to indulge in fine dining by candle light. New lighting, comfortable upholstered chairs, new carpets and warm, dark colors foster an intimate ambiance. The Magnolia is centrally located just steps away from Victoria's picturesque Inner Harbor—a district known for shops, galleries and & entertainment venues.
Bistro Chef Takes Executive Spot at Stonewall Resort
Francisco “Paco” Aceves has been appointed the new Executive Chef for Stonewall Resort, the Benchmark Hospitality International property located near Weston, West Virginia. Chef Aceves brings a world of culinary experience to Stonewall Resort," said Chris Steffich, Director of Food & Beverage. "He has worked in prestigious resort, restaurant and country club venues across the country and trained under two of the world’s most respected Certified Master Chefs. We look to him to continue our legacy as the region’s premier culinary and resort destination.” A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Aceves previously held the title of Executive Chef for one of West Virginia’s most popular restaurants, The Bridge Road Bistro in Charleston. Earlier in his career, Chef Aceves was employed as sous chef for The Houston Country Club in Houston, Texas, where he trained under Certified Master Chef Fritz Gitschner. During his tenure there, Chef Aceves was chosen by Gitschner to participate as part of the United States culinary team at the Bocuse d’Or in Lyon, France, one of the world’s most distinguished culinary competitions.
Catering Sales Manager Named at Lancaster Duo
The Lancaster County Convention Center and Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square—known as the Lancaster Duo—in Lancaster Pennsylvania, has named Melissa Watro as the Catering Sales Manager of the complex. Watro will be responsible for the solicitation, procurement & management of catering operations at the convention center and the adjoining 300-room hotel, which features a combined 90,000 square feet of meeting space and is scheduled to open in Spring 2009. Watro has more than 20 years of hospitality catering experience, most recently worked as Catering Manager for The St. Regis Hotel in New York. “We’re thrilled about the level of experience Melissa brings to the convention center and hotel,” said Josh Nowak, Director of Sales and marketing for Lancaster County Convention Center and Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square. “She will be able to draw upon her extensive background and upscale catering experience for our group and social functions.”
New Director of Catering at Glen Cove
Adam Portnoff, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, has been appointed Director of Catering for the Glen Cove Mansion Hotel and Conference in Glen Cove, New York. “I am so pleased that Adam has joined our team of sales professionals here at Glen Cove Mansion,” said Scott Becque, Director of Sales and Marketing “He brings over 20 years of experience to his new role and we look forward to his leadership in our catering department.” The award-winning Glen Cove Mansion Hotel and Conference Center is situated on 55 landscaped acres of Long Island, only 30 minutes from New York City, JFK International and LaGuardia Airports. The property features 187 richly appointed guestrooms, including four suites, the Garden Room Restaurant, Pub 1910, private dining rooms as well as vast outdoor reception areas overlooking the mansion's Gilded Age gardens. The property offers 25,000 square feet of event and meeting space, with 27 dedicated conference rooms, an executive business center and conference concierge services.
Chef with International Expertise Joins The Heldrich
Peter Csikos is the new Executive Chef for The Heldrich, a Benchmark Hospitality International property in New Brunswick, New Jersey. “I am delighted to welcome Peter to our team,” said Michael J. Taylor, General Manager. “He brings an international culinary perspective and vast expertise to The Heldrich and to Christopher’s, our signature restaurant. He also provides a unique understanding of the sophisticated New York and New Jersey dining scene.” In his new role as executive chef, Peter Csikos will oversee and provide leadership for the entire culinary operation at The Heldrich, including Christopher’s Restaurant, Christopher’s Bar, a vast banquet operation, in-room dining, and spa cuisine. Csikos, previously executive chef at the Hilton in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey has also worked at the Sheraton Crossroads of Mahwah,Pegasus Restaurant in East Rutherford, and the Warwick Hotel in New York. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of Budapest, Csikos gained early experience as chef working for intimate fine dining establishments in Hungary and Germany.
Onsite Restaurant Adds Up in Tuscon
What happens when you add Fire to Spice? The culinary answer to that equation can be found at the Sheraton Tucson Hotel and Suites. Operated by Sage Hospitality and featuring 131 suites, 85 deluxe guest rooms and 11 meeting rooms with 18,000 square feet of newly redesigned meeting space, this Tuscon, Arizona meeting hotel has added a restaurant whose name epitomizes addition—Fire+Spice.
This new onsite eating establishment in a newly renovated hotel is designed with warm colors, bold décor, ambient lighting, a seductive indoor/outdoor bar and blazing fire pits—evening entertainment includes live music and tarot card readings. In this setting, Executive Chef David Ferrara has designed and created an exciting, innovative menu that combines Native American, Spain and Mexico gourmet influences in a new South Western presentation that is redefining modern Arizona cuisine. Ferrara, an Arizona native, still frequents theTucson markets he visited as a young boy with his grandmother and is known for using local ingredients such as fresh chorizo, spices, tortillas and other Some of the signature Fire+Spice dishes include: Carne Asada – skirt steak served with locally prepared tortillas, Arizona rice, grilled vegetables, avocado lime crema and salsa fresca; Jalapeño Snake Bites - bacon wrapped shrimp with cream cheese and cilantro mousse; the Wild West Filet - served with Chef’s sweet potatoes, grilled vegetables and ancho port reduction; and Fire Roasted Salmon - with a chipotle honey glaze. For dessert, there’s the Fire+Spice S’mores-- yes, that’s right, S’Mores—this beloved childhood treat is re-created for adults by using sweet homemade marshmallows, bittersweet chocolate graham crackers and a chili-spiked cocoa shooter.
Ahh, now we know the answer to the equation. Fire+Spice = delectable food and drinks, premier service and stylish atmosphere and reinvented Arizona contemporary cuisine.
Steamboat Renovation Renews Saddles & Sevens
Sheraton Steamboat Resort, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado unveiled a $20 million renovation in December 2008. The Sheraton Steamboat Resort features Total number of meeting spaces: 17 meeting rooms, including a 6,300-square-foot Grand Ballroom, as well as the onsite Sevens Restaurant and Saddles Bar & Grill.
The venue’s signature restaurant, Sevens, has been made completely new—from flooring to modern ceiling lighting fixtures. Offering magnificent views of Mt. Werner, Sevens also features a distinctive private dining area that can accommodate up to thirty for a special family gathering, or business meeting. A Botanical Flora mural by Chicago artist-designer, Jack Denst, flanks the entry wall. Serving breakfast and dinner daily, showcasing the culinary talents of Executive Chef Jon Demel, whose specialties include wine-braised bison short ribs, rack of wild boar, pan-seared crab cake, baby greens with avocado relish and balsamic reduction, garlic-seared lamb chop with rosemary jus and potato puree; pan seared ruby-red trout and achiote marinated bone-in chicken. Traditional game entrees get a modern twist, and make an appearance as port glazed quail, game sausage brochettes and elk sirloin chili.
In the stylish and contemporary new Saddles Bar & Grill, meeting attendees can relax with an adult beverage while enjoying the floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views of Mt. Werner. Saddles offers all day dining and late night lounging, with a long, granite-top bar, intimate seating areas, and a beautiful stone fireplace. Demel's expertise shines in the Saddles menu as well, which features a variety of high-class, “pub grub,” such as an artisan cheese and meat plate, pulled pork sliders, seared bison meatloaf, pulled pork Cuban sandwiches and hot-griddled ham and three cheese paninis. Saddles has also introduced a complete lineup of delicious signature drinks, featuring such thematic "Specialty Cocktails" as the White Out Chocolate Martini, Caramel Apple Martini, Blue Cicle Martini, Champagne Powder, White Snow Flake, and the Saddles Cosmo. For the winter sports enthusiast coming in from the slopes, Saddles offer “Winter Warm Ups,” such as the Ski Lift (Malibu Rum, Peach Schnapps and hot chocolate).