Collin Thornton

Headshot of Collin Thornton, director of food & beverage at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island for Smart Moves
Collin Thornton, The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island appoints Thornton as director of food & beverage. Throughout his 18 years in the food and beverage industry, Thornton has worked with some of the world’s leading luxury hospitality brands. Most recently, he served as the regional director of food and beverage at Big Cedar Lodge, Bass Pro Shops in Branson, Missouri, where he managed 19 food and beverage centers with 650 employees.

Leonard Ventura

headshot of Leonard Ventura, executive chef at Hyatt Lodge Oak Brook
Leonard Ventura, Hyatt Lodge Oak Brook

Ventura takes on the role of executive chef at Hyatt Lodge Oak Brook. He brings over three decades of experiences spanning French, Italian, Spanish, Middle Eastern and Japanese cuisines. As a seasoned executive chef and adept kitchen manager, he will work to enhance the dining experience at Oak Brook and its signature in-house restaurant, Hearth Lounge, as he manages menu development, special events and the culinary staff.

Armando Monterroso

Headshot of Armando Monterroso, vice president of food and beverage at TradeWinds Island Resorts for Smart Moves
Armando Monterroso, TradeWinds Island Resorts

Monterosso is named vice president of food and beverage at TradeWinds Island Resorts, for Island Grand Resort and RumFish Beach Resort. He will take responsibility for business strategies for all dining outlets at the two properties, overseeing planning, product placement and delivery of an outstanding food and beverage experience. He most recently served as vice president of food and beverage for Playa Hotels & Resorts collection of 24 resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean.

Corey Laub

headshot of Corey Laub, executive chef at Merriweather Lakehouse Hotel
Corey Laub, Merriweather Lakehouse Hotel

Merriweather Lakehouse Hotel welcomes Laub as executive chef. He brings extensive experience in upscale dining, having trained under acclaimed chefs in D.C. and Baltimore and in executive chef positions in Chicago. Laub will bring a refreshed perspective to the dining experience and unveil new menus at Lāk Restaurant and Rookery Bar.

Jan Tagaro

Headshot of Jan Tagaro, banquet chef at The Windsor Court
Jan Tagaro, The Windsor Court

Tagaro is promoted to the role of banquet chef from his former role as sous chef at The Windsor Court. He will now oversee food preparation of catering events and the planning, organizing, controlling and direction of banquet kitchen associates to ensure a high quality food experience. He has worked in the banquet kitchen and as a banquet sous chef at The Windsor Court for the past five years.

Michael Stewart

Michael Stewart, executive chef at Cuthbert House
Michael Stewart, Cuthbert House

Cuthbert House appoints Stewart as executive chef. Born and raised in Beaufort, he brings a local perspective and deep appreciation for the region’s diverse food culture. He has held pivotal roles as executive chef and assistant food and beverage manager at Haig Point, and spent 15 years as executive chef at Clarendon Farms. He began his career studying under three-star Michelin Chef John B. Shields in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Matteo Gabrielli

Matteo Gabrielli, chef of Acanto Restaurant for Smart Moves
Matteo Gabrielli, Acanto Restaurant

Gabrielli serves as chef of Acanto Restaurant, the flagship of the gastronomic offerings at Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan. He began his fine dining career in London before moving into the hotel industry, then worked at five star establishments including Four Seasons Park Lane and Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. Later, Gabrielli worked with star chefs such as Antonio Guida at the famous Pellicano restaurant in Porto Ercole in Italy. He will now lead Acanto, its menu and its dedicated team.

German Ghelfi and Antonio Menden

Headshots of German Ghelfi, executive chef (left) and Antonio Menden, director of food and beverage (right), Conrad Punta de Mita
German Ghelfi (left) and Antonio Menden (right), Conrad Punta de Mita

Conrad Punta de Mita makes two new leadership appointments to its culinary team.

Ghelfi will serve as executive chef, overseeing all culinary operations for Conrad Punta de Mita and its various dining outlets. He brings over 25 years of experience in the luxury hospitality industry and a passion for creating memorable experiences through food and local traditions. He has served as a culinary leader in a variety of roles around the world, most recently as culinary director and executive chef at Mandarin Oriental Santiago.

Menden will serve as director of food and beverage, overseeing all culinary outlets at Conrad Punta de Mita. He joins the property from Etéreo, part of Auberge Resorts Collection. Earlier in his career, he held multiple roles at a number of luxury properties, including Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Thompson Playa del Carmen and Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City.

Sumeet Jhingan

headshot of Sumeet Jhingan, executive assistant manager of food and beverage at The Hollywood Roosevelt for Smart Moves
Sumeet Jhingan, The Hollywood Roosevelt

Jhingan is the new executive assistant manager of food and beverage at The Hollywood Roosevelt. He brings over 20 years of experience to this new role. Jhingan has received global recognition, having been featured in Forbes Middle East for his impactful contributions to the industry and ranked seventh in the Power 50 List by Caterer Middle East in 2018.  He has spearheaded food and beverage operations in renowned luxury hotels such as The Crown Casino Melbourne and The Mark Hotel in New York City.

Omar Barquera

Omar Barquera, executive chef, Thompson Zihuatanejo
Omar Barquera, Thompson Zihuatanejo

Thompson Zihuatanejo appoints Barquera as executive chef. Throughout his over two decades of experience, he has developed a reputation as an expert in food and beverage initiatives, strategic planning and execution of top-tier cuisine. He most recently served as chef de hotel at Thompson Playa del Carmen and will now work to further enhance the food and beverage offerings throughout the entirety of Thompson Zihuatanejo.

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