• 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.

Through responses to bi-weekly surveys, Global Business Travel Association members have indicated that domestic busines travel is ramping up after months of struggle.  

 

Remote working has become mainstream with the continued presence of COVID-19. While many people have welcomed the new normal of working from home, others miss the separation of spaces, as many corporate offices have remained closed since March. Without the daily obligation to go into the office, professionals have the ability to travel more freely. Hotels across the country are creating “work from hotel” deals–a play on “work from home”–so people can explore new places while still fitting in their 9 to 5.  

 

After almost 20 years of vacancy, the Cook County Hospital in Chicago will be put to use once again. A $150 million adaptive reuse project restored the historic, 106-year-old hospital, which has become a combined Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotel, as well as medical offices, a museum, a food hall and more. While the opening is multi-phased, the hotels are scheduled to open in late July.