The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago Appoints Franco Diaz as New Executive Chef

USA, Bethesda, Maryland. August 13, 2019

The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago welcomes Franco Diaz as the new Executive Chef where he will lead all culinary operations in the downtown hotel including Torali Italian-Steak, Torali Bar, The Café, The Rooftop at Torali as well as catering, events, and in-room dining.

In his return to Chicago, Diaz is also celebrating a homecoming as a Windy City native hailing from Bensenville, Illinois where he was born and raised. Diaz discovered a love for cooking at a young age through his Grandmother, becoming the chef of the family and beginning his passion for food and the culinary arts.

Diaz's studies began in Evanston, where he earned his degree in Culinary Management from Kendall College. Diaz started his professional career at The Peninsula, Chicago where he held various roles including Garde Manager Sous Chef and Banquet Sous Chef. While in Chicago, he was selected to explore and perfect his craft on an exchange chef program in Interlaken, Switzerland.

After departing Chicago to the snowcapped mountains of Colorado, Diaz was appointed Executive Sous Chef of the St. Regis Resort in Aspen. His experience continued to take him around the world to destinations like Princeville, Kauai and Bal Harbour, Florida. Under his guidance, the St. Regis Resort Bal

Harbour was named a AAA Five Diamond hotel three months after opening. Most recently, Diaz has been the Executive Chef at The Peninsula Manila; a 493-room, 10 restaurant hotel in Makati, Philippines.

"I'm thrilled to join the ladies and gentlemen of The Ritz-Carlton and return to my hometown of Chicago where I first found my love for cooking" shares Diaz. "I look forward to providing an incredible culinary experience for all of our guests at this iconic hotel."

When he's not in the kitchen, Diaz enjoys spending time with his wife and newborn daughter, perfecting his swing on the golf course, exploring new restaurants and destinations, and adding to his expansive cookbook collection.

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Coming up in November 2019...

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.