The chef shuffles at the W Hotel continue, as Nadine Thomas moves up to Director of Beverage and Food, and Thomas Riordan, previously of the St. Regis Aspen, takes over her position as Executive Chef of the hotel. Nadine Thomas will now oversee "in-room dining, TRACE, catering, special events and more." Thomas has been executive chef of the W since it opened in 2010, a primarily managerial role.
Meanwhile, Riordan, a CIA graduate, has built up a resume of high-end hotel cooking. At the St. Regis, he managed their Italian restaurant, as well as premiered a "Farm to Massage Table" menu at their spa, a "a multi-dimensional five course spa experience," if you're into that kind of thing. Eater Denver reported his departure from the St. Regis in July.
Nadine Thomas has been a steady presence at the W, while TRACE's Chef de Cuisine position has cycled through Paul Hargrove, who is now developing a restaurant on West 4th, and Uchiko alum Ben Hightower. TRACE's current Chef de Cuisine, Lawrence Kocurek, as well as Executive Pastry Chef Janina O'Leary and Forager Valerie Broussard will all stay on. The full press release is below the jump.
[Photo: W Hotel/Official]
W Austin Announces Chef Nadine Thomas as New Director of Beverage and Food and Thomas Riordan as Executive Chef for the Hotel
August 21, 2013 (Austin, TX) — W Austin is excited to announce the promotion of Chef Nadine Thomas as Director of Beverage and Food, and welcomes Chef Thomas Riordan, who will be taking on Thomas' former role as Executive Chef for the hotel. The newly filled positions round-out an already stellar culinary team for the acclaimed hotel and its onsite restaurant TRACE including Executive Pastry Chef and recent James Beard Nominee, Janina O'Leary; Forager and sustainability champion for the property, Valerie Broussard; and TRACE's Chef de Cuisine, Lawrence Kocurek.
Thomas' managerial excellence and dedication to quality makes her an ideal fit for her new post. As Director of Food and Beverage, she'll be responsible for overseeing all beverage and food operations at the hotel including in-room dining, TRACE, catering, special events and more. Having served as W Austin's Executive Chef since it opened in December 2010, Thomas has a keen sense of what it takes to thrive in Austin's rapidly expanding culinary community while also providing exceptional service for hotel guests and private event business. Her philosophy of using fresh, seasonal ingredients to create delicious dishes compliments TRACE's commitment to "Conscious Cuisine" and are a great asset for the restaurant which serves as the very first concept restaurant for the W brand.
A native of British Columbia, Canada, Thomas began her career as Executive Sous Chef at The Westin Calgary's Owl's Nest Dining Room, rated one of the top 100 fine dining rooms in Canada. She moved up the ranks at Starwood Hotels & Resorts, working at The Westin Philadelphia as Executive Chef and The Westin Copley Place as Executive Banquet Chef. Before joining the W Austin, she made her mark as Executive Chef at The Westin Alexandria by developing the concept and menu for the Jamieson Grille.
"It's been a great pleasure serving as Executive Chef for W Austin and I'm looking forward to applying my greater understanding of this property's vision to oversee a beverage and food program that both local and out-of-town guests will enjoy," says Thomas. "I'm also fortunate to have Thomas Riordan in my corner as Executive Chef for the hotel. I have no doubt that his experience with the luxury market and farm-to-table dining will be a great asset as Austin continues to thrive as a culinary and travel destination."
Riordan who joined W Austin's talented culinary team this August, brings over 17 years of culinary experience ranging from fine dining to large banquet service. Previously the Executive Chef at St. Regis Aspen Resort in Aspen, CO., Riordan has worked for restaurants that have racked up numerous awards, including Mobil 4 Star, AAA 5 Diamond and Zagat Top 100. He studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York before making a name for himself as a chef in Scottsdale, Arizona where he worked at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in 1999 before progressing to the JW Marriot Camelback Inn. Following he worked for Starwood's The Phoenician before joining the team at Starwood's St. Regis Aspen Resort. At the St. Regis Aspen, he developed and executed the concepts for Italian restaurant Trecenetto Quindicci, as well as the innovative new spa treatment for Remede spa, Farm to Massage Table. A twist on the already popular Farm-to-Table concept, Farm to Massage Table uses locally-sourced and natural ingredients to fully in a multi-dimensional five course spa experience, allowing guests to taste what they've smelled, sensed and seen; to treat one's body as a palate and to be scrubbed, massaged and fed.
"Austin has quickly transformed itself from a small yet unique town, into a thriving travel destination worthy of the national attention it regularly receives," says Riordan. "I am thrilled to apply my creativity and enthusiasm for hospitality and service in my new role and am pleased to get to work alongside the immense talent at W Austin."
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