Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. McKeown

Thomas McKeown

Executive Chef, Hyatt Regency Atlanta

Armed with a wealth of international culinary experience, Chef Thomas McKeown joined Hyatt Regency Atlanta as Executive Chef. Before his current role overseeing the property's dining experiences, Polaris, Sway, Twenty-Two Storys and Market, as well as its in-room dining, special events and banquet operations, Chef McKeown served as Executive Chef at Grand Hyatt Atlanta for five years.

Born and trained in Europe, Chef McKeown began his culinary career at the prominent Limerick Golf Club in Ireland. He completed his culinary training on both sides of the Atlantic at the Limerick Institute of Technology in Ireland and Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, where he earned a Master's degree in Food Service Education. Following his studies, Chef McKeown refined his knowledge of contemporary American cuisine as Sous Chef at the exclusive Somerset Club in Boston and moved on to become Executive Chef at the Ellis Hotel in downtown Atlanta, where he concentrated on local sustainable cuisine.

Chef McKeown is a member of Hyatt's Sustainable and Responsible Eating Team, a Corp. initiative which promotes serving local, healthy and responsibly raised ingredients in all Hyatt dining experiences. In 2013, Chef McKeown was awarded "Executive Chef of the Year" by Hyatt Hotels. Passionate about food and an advocate of local and sustainable sourcing, Chef McKeown is also involved with the Hospitality Education Foundation of Georgia. When he's not in the kitchen, he can be found at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market or at local farms alongside his wife Lacy and two children, Aiden and Conner, where he has started Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs.

Please visit http://www.hyatt.com for more information.

Mr. McKeown can be contacted at +1 404-577-1234 or thomas.mckeown@hyatt.com

Coming up in December 2019...

Hotel Law: A Labor Crisis and Cyber Security

According to a recent study, the hospitality industry accounted for 2.9 trillion dollars in sales and in the U.S. alone, was responsible for 1 in 9 jobs. In an industry of that scope and dimension, legal issues touch every aspect of a hotel's operation, and legal services are required in order to conform to all prevailing laws and regulations. Though not all hotels face the same issues, there are some industry-wide subjects that are of concern more broadly. One of those matters is the issue of immigration and how it affects the ability of hotels to recruit qualified employees. The hotel industry is currently facing a labor crisis; the U.S. Labor Department estimates that there are 600,000 unfilled jobs in the industry. Part of the problem contributing to this labor shortage is the lack of H2B visas for low-skilled workers, combined with the difficulty in obtaining J-1 visas for temporary workers. Because comprehensive immigration reform is not being addressed politically, hotel managers expect things are going to get worse before they get better. Corporate cyber security is another major legal issue the industry must address. Hotels are under enormous pressure in this area given the large volume of customer financial transactions they handle daily. Recently, a federal court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission had the power to regulate corporate cyber security, so it is incumbent on hotels to establish data security programs in order to prevent data breaches. The lack of such programs could cause hotels to face legal threats from government agencies, class action lawsuits, and damage to their brand image if a data breach should occur. These are just two of the critical issues that the December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.