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 March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.