Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Vargo

Dan Vargo

Executive Chef, Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa

A native of Maryland, Executive Chef Dan Vargo was first introduced to the culinary world along Florida's Emerald Coast, where he discovered and began to pursue his passion for food. Now a 16-year veteran of the culinary industry, he has traveled the world, exploring kitchens and cultures, as he carefully honed his skills and developed his signature style.

Chef Vargo first joined the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa team in April 2012 as an Executive Chef at Seagar's Prime Steaks & Seafood, the resort's award-winning, AAA Four-Diamond restaurant. Before joining Hilton Sandestin Beach, Chef Vargo dedicated eight years to the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida, where he held a number of positions, including Executive Sous Chef and Restaurant Chef. He also spent two years as Executive Sous Chef at The Boathouse Club in Martha's Vineyard.

Named Executive Chef of the 602-room beachfront resort in February 2017, Chef Vargo skillfully blends Baltimore's traditional and historical influences, Martha's Vineyard's emphasis on organic produce and seasonal seafood, and the Ritz-Carlton's world-class standards for fine dining and excellence in service into the Hilton Sandestin Beach experience.

Graduating with honors from Baltimore International College in 2002, Chef Vargo earned a prestigious internship through The American Studies Institute, taking him to The Park Hotel in Ireland. Chef Vargo was also selected as a member of Ritz-Carlton's domestic and international recruiting team sent to South Africa and Peru, where he cooked for orphanages and shelters.

Since joining Hilton Sandestin Beach, Chef Vargo has been featured on Emeril's Florida, Atlanta Eats and Golf Channel's Morning Drive with Matt Ginella, and at events such as BlogHer Food in Miami, Music City Food & Wine Festival in Nashville, and Boudin, Bourbon and Beer in New Orleans. Chef Vargo was also selected as the People's Choice winner in the 2013 inaugural 30A Throwdown competition and Critics Choice winner in the 2014 competition.


Please visit http://hiltonsandestinbeach.com for more information.

Mr. Vargo can be contacted at 850-267-9500 or dvargo@hiltonsandestinbeach.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.