Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Ermini

Justin Ermini

Executive Chef, Las Alcobas

Justin Ermini , Executive Chef at Las Alcobas is a Connecticut native who attended the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and interned at Le Meridian Hotel in New Orleans, which would mark the beginning of his culinary journey. Soon after, he began training with Wolfgang Puck at Postrio in San Francisco, where he learned the art of California cuisine, developing his expertise by working every type of station. Afterward, he returned to the east coast where he was asked to join the team at, Three-Star Michelin restaurant Jean Georges in New York City. This experience fine-tuned his skills and provided him with the necessary refinement that would become essential for his next chapter, working at several Michelin-starred restaurants throughout Firenze, Italy where he resided and studied for the next two years. Soon opportunity drew him back to the west coast, after being approached by The Palms Hotel and Casino (The N9ne Group) to open their Italian concept in California. After the completion of this project, Chef Ermini relocated to Hollywood to take on the role of chef at the Michelin- starred Watergrill. Here, he studied the art of seafood, bringing in fish from all over the world and studying technique under Executive Chef David Lefevre (formerly executive sous chef of Charlie Trotter's). Years later, he returned to his roots by moving back to the east coast to become the Executive Chef of the Relais & Chateaux, Five-Star Five-Diamond Mayflower Inn, where he incorporated his eclectic variety of skills and technique, combining them with the classic New England cuisine he was raised with. This year, Chef Ermini will lend his expertise as Consulting Chef for the restaurant of the follow-up to Las Alcobas's flagship Mexico City property opening spring 2016, Las Alcobas Napa Valley.

Please visit www.lasalcobas.com for more information.

Mr. Ermini can be contacted at 52-55-3300-3950 or jermini@lasalcobas.com

Coming up in September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.