Marriott Irvine Spectrum Appoints Leonel De Leon as Executive Chef

USA, Irvine, California. June 11, 2019

Marriott Irvine Spectrum is pleased to announce the appointment of Leonel De Leon as Executive Chef. De Leon brings over 16 years of culinary experience to Marriott Irvine Spectrum, where he oversees all food and beverage for the 271-room hotel, curating menus of inventive, responsibly sourced California cuisine.

The hotel's indoor-outdoor design sets the stage for De Leon's casually sophisticated menu inspired by the Orange County lifestyle. At the signature restaurant, Heirloom Farmhouse Kitchen, the stone fired oven is central to its harvest-to-hearth cuisine with innovative seasonal dishes starring ingredients from local farms that heighten flavor profiles. At the lively rooftop bar, Hive & Honey—Irvine's first such perch—De Leon elevates shareable plates alongside trendy cocktails and local brews.

De Leon's passion for cuisine stems from his mother's cooking along with her love and respect for quality and tradition. He studied at the California School of Culinary Arts Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena and further honed his skill of fine-dining finesse. De Leon's culinary repertoire led him to multi-faceted positions in several of Southern California's fine dining restaurants and hotels. He sharpened his knife at the Omni Hotel Los Angeles and Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel and became a staple within the Marriott family.

While rising through the ranks, De Leon successfully led culinary operations at the JW Marriott Palm Desert, Marriott Hotel and Spa in Newport Beach and most recently the JW Marriott Desert Springs. During his tenure at JW Marriott Palm Desert as executive sous chef, De Leon oversaw menu development while increasing food quality, presentation and the overall food and beverage experience.

Off duty, Executive Chef De Leon spends time with his wife Cindy, five-year-old son Isaac and one-year-old daughter Ellie Sage. His favorite family vacations include packing up the car and pursuing national parks, fishing, hiking and camping.

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Architecture & Design: Biophilic Design

The hospitality industry is constantly evolving to meet and exceed guest expectations. As a result, hotels are always on the lookout for new ways to improve the guest experience, and architecture and design is an essential part of this equation. Bold design is often the most effective way to make an exceptional first impression - an impression guests use to distinguish between brands. One design trend that is being embraced worldwide has become known as “Biophilic Design.” Biophilic design is based on the concept of biophilia, which is the theory that human beings have an innate tendency to seek out nature, natural elements, and natural forms. Biophilic design is more than hotels simply adding a surplus of plants; it involves incorporating specific design elements into a hotel in order to imbue it with a sense of wellness and well-being. Some of those elements include exposure to natural lighting; views of nature and rooms with a view; natural architectural patterns; salvaged or reclaimed woods of all types; reclaimed metals; sustainably sourced stone; living green walls and vertical gardens; and direct and indirect exposure to nature. Hotels that have incorporated biophilic design into their properties are reaping the benefits associated with this trend including reduced stress responses, better air quality, lower energy costs, and more positive guest reviews. Biophilic design has also been shown to improve guest moods and to satisfy consumer demand for environmental responsibility. Savvy hotel owners and managers are aware that nature-inspired elements enhance their guests' comfort and well-being, which is why this trend is becoming so prevalent. Biophilic design is just one topic in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.