Restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian,-owner of The Lambs Club and The National Bar and Dining Rooms, both in New York City, as well as The Water Club at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, N.J., has been named culinary director at The Plaza Hotel in New York City, where he is the latest chef to try to revitalize The Palm Court and the Oak Room.
Stefon Rishel has been named executive chef of Max’s Wine Dive in Fort Worth, Texas, the chain’s fifth location. Most recently executive chef at Sisu Uptown Resort in Dallas, Rishel will create new items such as baby kale salad with Texas blueberries and roasted beet and ricotta gnocchi.
Graham Bartlett, former chef de cuisine of Zengo in Washington, D.C., has been promoted to regional executive chef of all Richard Sandoval Restaurants in the D.C. area, including Ambar, El Centro, Masa 14 and Zengo.
Jason Streiff, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., replaces him at Zengo. He will be promoted from sous chef.
Clay Miller is the new executive chef of Yardbird Southern Table & Bar in Miami. Originally from Pittsburgh, Miller most recently was executive chef of Wit & Wisdom, a Tavern by Michael Mina, at The Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore. His résumé also includes stints at Daniel and Tabla in New York City; The French Laundry in Yountville, Calif.; and Trummer’s on Main in Clifton, Va.
Eric Wolitzky is the new executive pastry chef at the Fifth Group Restaurants in Atlanta, including two South Water Kitchen locations, as well as La Tavola Trattoria, Ecco, The Original El Taco, Alma Cocina and Lure. Wolitzky most recently was pastry chef of Cakes & Ale and The Bakery at Cakes & Ale in Decatur, Ga., where he won Food & Wine magazine’s The People’s Best New Pastry Chef award. He was also a contestant on Bravo TV’s Top Chef Just Desserts.
Jacques Sorci, former executive chef of The Carlyle Hotel in New York City, is the new executive chef of The New York Palace hotel. Before working at The Carlyle, Sorci worked for The Ritz-Carlton hotels for nearly 20 years. In 2003, he was named a Maître Cuisinier de France, a designation in French culinary arts held by just 65 chefs in the United States.
Matthew Schindler is the new chef de cuisine for The Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. Most recently he was chef at the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire in the English countryside south of London, where he availed himself of eggs from the property’s chickens and honey from the hotel’s bees. He plans a similar approach at the Waldorf, which has beehives and a garden on its roof.
Scot Emerson is executive chef of the Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow, Vt., where he is responsible for the property’s 13 dining destinations. Most recently he was executive chef of the resort’s Coleman Brook Tavern. Previously, Emerson was restaurant manager at the Wilburton Inn in Manchester, Vt. He is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America.
Massimo Bebber has been named executive chef of Sirio Ristorante in New York City, replacing Filippo Gozzoli. A veteran of Cipriani restaurants, Bebber most recently was executive chef of Caravaggio, where he was the opening chef in 2009. He plans to introduce a new menu at Sirio in September.
Chad Minton, former executive chef of the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa in Ojai, Calif., has moved to New York City, where he is executive chef of the Andaz 5th Avenue hotel. Minton has no formal culinary education. He started washing dishes at age 17, eventually landing an apprenticeship at the The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco. From there he worked his way up the ranks, eventually becoming an executive chef.
Elizabeth Shoemaker, former pastry sous chef of Canlis in Seattle, is now the pastry chef of Stoneburner, also in Seattle, where she is making desserts such as dark chocolate brownies with gianduja gelato, cherry purée and hazelnuts; basil ice cream with a butter cookie and macerated berries; and anise hyssop semifreddo with honeydew granité and plums.
Scott Ekstrom is the new chef of Fish Story in Napa, Calif. Originally from LaVallette, N.J., Ekstrom most recently was executive chef of Angèle, also in Napa. He studied at The Restaurant School in Philadelphia, then worked at restaurants in Philadelphia and New York before moving to California.
Jason Johnson is the new executive chef of The Rim at Volcano House hotel in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Most recently a consultant for Pineapple’s Island Fresh Cuisine in Hilo, Hawaii, Johnson is a native of Hilo and has spent his career on the Big Island, starting out as a dishwasher at Uncle Billy’s in Hilo, and also working at Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine and the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows on the Kohala Coast.
Jesper Jonsson is the new executive chef at the Warwick Denver Hotel. A native of Denmark, Jonsson previously was the executive chef for Consul General Hans Grunnet, Danish ambassador to the United Nations. Most recently he has been chef at three properties in Northwestern Colorado: Buffalo Horn Ranch, Bistro on Park Avenue and Blue Mountain Inn.
Jonathan Beatty is the new executive chef of Ecco in Atlanta. Most recently executive chef of Davanti Enoteca in Chicago, Beatty received a bachelor’s degree in classical civilizations from Florida State University before studying at the French Culinary Institute in New York City.
Bernhard Butz is the new executive chef of Ayana Resort and Spa Bali in Jimbaran, Indonesia, where guest can dine on specialties such as hot-smoked wagyu beef carpaccio with radish and arugula; lobster medallions with artichoke, truffle and shell sauce; and char-grilled veal filet and langoustine Thermidor with truffle potato purée and young vegetables.
Butz was most recently group executive chef of the Shangri-La Hotels in China, based in Beijing. He is originally from Germersheim, Germany, and started his career as a pastry chef, and holds a master’s degree in pastry and chocolate.