Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. LaCasce

Russell LaCasce

Executive Chef, Hotel Valley Ho

With a career that spans 20 years, Russell LaCasce is known for his vast culinary knowledge and true love of the craft. As the executive chef of Hotel Valley Ho, he oversees all culinary operations for the hotel, including the OH Pool and OHasis Pool, in-room dining, banquets, catering and the hotel's signature restaurant, ZuZu, which was recently revamped in fall 2019, including a new layout and decor, private dining room, chef station, wine room, and more.

Chef Russell began his culinary career in Charleston, South Carolina as a dishwasher, and quickly found a passion for food and a love for the kitchen. He then spent time learning the service side of restaurants in Park City, Utah, before moving to Scottsdale in 2006. His professional training includes a Culinary Arts Degree from the Arizona Culinary Institute and 10 years working under some of the best chefs in Arizona.

At T. Cook's at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Chef Russell worked with Chef Lee Hillson, eventually rising to the position of p.m. sous chef. He joined the renowned Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa in 2010 as a.m. sous chef and was named executive sous chef in 2011. He worked closely with Beau MacMillan, the resort's executive chef and star of Food Network, before taking the position of executive chef at Hotel Valley Ho in 2017.

Chef Russell is skilled at preparing American, Asian, French and Mediterranean cuisines, and was awarded the Taste of Elegance 2013. His creative eye for menu design and sincere passion for cooking are reflected in the beautiful, seasonal food served at ZuZu.

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

Mr. LaCasce can be contacted at +1 480-248-2007 or rlacasce@hotelvalleyho.com

Coming up in November 2020...

Hotel Design: Home Away From Home

With the rise of the sharing economy and the peer-to-peer marketplace for lodging options, hoteliers are re-thinking the look, feel and appeal of their locations. There is an emphasis on re-creating a feeling of homeyness - a comfortable, cozy and inviting space that feels like home. 'This is accomplished through the careful selection of furniture design, paint colors, lighting design, artwork, bathroom fixtures and textile accessories. In addition, some hotels are providing their guests with upscale amenities, such as a book and movie library, home-style kitchenettes, a coffee machine with locally-sourced beans and tea, or even a batch of fresh-baked cookies. Similarly, there is a growing design trend based on the concept of place-making. Travelers are searching for experiences that are unique and authentic to the locale in which they find themselves, and so hotel designers are integrating a sense of place into their work. This is partially achieved by incorporating traditional artisanal crafts and other local artwork into hotel rooms and communal spaces. Another design trend includes the creation of full-service, co-working environments within the hotel. Guests don't like to stay alone in their room when they need to work, so now they can go downstairs to the lobby-or up to the roof-to work among others. These areas encourage guests - and non-guests alike - to stay as long as they like and to partake of hotel amenities. Finally, recognizing the importance of the Wellness Movement, some designers are exploring how room design can increase the likelihood of deep and restorative sleep. Creating dark and quiet spaces, blocking excessive light, providing guests with a selection of different kinds of pillows, and the ability to control room temperature, are a few of the best practices in this area. These are some of the architecture and design topics that will be covered in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.