• Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center Appoints Executive Chef Franco Diaz

     
    POSTED May 27, 2014
     

Le Méridien Chicago - Oakbrook Center recently announced the appointment of culinary artist and Chicago-native Chef Franco Diaz as executive chef. 

Upon completion of its $25 million transformation this July, Le Méridien Chicago - Oakbrook Center, a Rockbridge portfolio property, will unveil a chic new bar and restaurant concept as well as a stunning, ninth-floor 3,000-square-foot ballroom with spectacular views of the Chicago skyline.

One of Chef Diaz's passions is to respect the quality of ingredients, understanding and using the best products available in his dishes. "Food should evoke all the senses; smell, taste, aesthetics and texture," said Chef Diaz. "I strive to tap into each of the senses when creating my menus."

This creativity will help him in the development of innovative menus that transform the dining experience at Le Méridien Chicago - Oakbrook Center into a culinary journey.

Chef Diaz welcomes his new position with years of experience at some of the nation’s most prestigious hotels. He started his career with the Peninsula Hotel Chicago, holding various roles including garde manger sous chef and banquet sous chef. He then went on to join Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide as executive sous chef of the St. Regis Aspen Colorado, host for the annual Food and Wine Magazine classic festival. 

Chef Diaz's experience in Aspen led him to then be selected as part of two back-to-back AAA five diamond award winning hotel openings, as opening executive sous chef of both St. Regis Princeville Kauai and St. Regis Bal Harbour Florida. St. Regis Resort Bal Harbour Florida was named AAA five diamond hotel just three months after opening and awarded the prestigious Forbes Five Star Award.

Chef Diaz joins Le Méridien Chicago - Oakbrook Center after most recently serving as Executive Chef at The Drake Hotel in Chicago.

Due to COVID-19, non-essential travel was, or has been, banned for months. Long anticipated trips and in-person gatherings were canceled and people have adjusted to the new normal: staying at home and meeting over Zoom. However, states have been slowly lifting restrictions, and non-essential travel will soon be happening across the country again. However, some may not be as comfortable with the thought of traveling as they were before the pandemic.  

 

Daily life has been significantly altered by COVID-19, no matter the industry. Many are working from home, while children stay inside for online schooling. Meetings and events have been hit especially hard, since the essence of the industry is face-to-face interactions. While we continue to self-isolate, plenty of organizations have been offering webinars with insights on how to handle the pandemic—watching webinars is a great way to use that extra time you might have used for your commute to learn something useful.

 

As the spread of the novel coronavirus continues to put immense pressure on the U.S. health care system and the people who keep it running, the American Hotel and Lodging Association is working to connect hotels with health workers who are struggling to find housing.