Name: Adam H.
Position: Executive Chef
Hotel: JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort
Dream destination: So many! Italy, France, Spain, Croatia, Indonesia, Thailand, Tahiti and every year the list grows.
Drink or treat of choice: Cucumber Collins on a hot day or an Old Fashioned on a cold night.
For many culinary students, hospitality might not be what first comes to mind when dreaming of the prestigious kitchens at which they want to build their careers. But Adam, Executive Chef at JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort, knew he wanted to go that route from the beginning, as a student at CSCA Le Cordon Bleu, in Pasadena, California.
“My goal after school was to work in a hotel for the great benefits they offer,” he says.
Adam’s first Marriott role was Culinary Supervisor at The Westin Pasadena where he spent his first three years after graduating. Later he took the job of Chef de Cuisine and soon after was promoted to Executive Sous Chef at the Sheraton Fairplex Pomona. He later left Marriott to take his first Executive Chef role at another company and three years later came back to Marriott when the team at the Sheraton Fairplex offered him the Executive Chef position.
“[There]I oversaw a massive Food and Beverage operation including a five-acre farm where I worked closely with a horticulturist and volunteer team with heavy focus on organic product and sustainability,” he recalls.
Looking to grow his experience and scope even more, Adam looked for a position in which he could learn “big box operations” so he transferred to the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort as Executive Sous Chef, where he got to learn those skills. Later, when the Exec Chef role at JW Marriott of Anaheim opened, he knew it was the right move.
“I jumped on the opportunity wanting to learn the luxury side of hotels,” Adam says. “I’ve been here for nearly two years and have helped open all Food and Beverage operations.”
“It’s been like opening a [new] hotel. Challenging to say the least but in a positive way. Really growing my knowledge of how to operate in a post-pandemic world.”
Learn more about Adam’s culinary journey in his own words below.
What attracted you to want to work at Marriott, vs a more traditional restaurant?
The benefits are what initially attracted me but now I would say the Marriott culture is what really attracts me.
How would you describe Marriott’s culture?
Mr. Marriott said it best “if you take care of the associates, they will in turn take care of the guests.” That has really stuck with me throughout my career with Marriott.
How has Marriott supported you as an artisan?
When I worked at the Sheraton on the farm, I really was able to be creative and get a strong understanding of the farm-to-table concept and menu development. As I continue my career, Marriott has supported me and my passion to be creative and really challenge myself with menu development and operational creativity.
What is your favorite part of the job?
Creating new dishes and the positive feedback we get after guests are able to indulge.
What does a good day at work look like for you?
Coming into work, checking in with my team to see how their morning is going and if I can be of any assistance is always a good start to the day. But I think the best part of my job is always being challenged to create new food or find new ways of doing things to consistently improve the way we operate.
What inspires you, and when are you able to be your most creative self?
Being a newer property, we constantly have a lot of regional team managers wanting to visit the property or hold their meetings here, so I am always challenged to be creative and have a memorable Food & Beverage experience with a story to take away. Especially for the regional managers as they have been all over the world and experienced tons of different cuisine and events. I always try to make our hotel stand out from the rest.
Tell us about a time you were incredibly proud of your team.
This year we had the “Women of Marriott Leadership Conference” at our hotel, and they had an all-day summit with food for 300 people. I was really proud of the team for the menu we created and executed. We got so many good reviews that they will be hosting it here again next year!
What’s surprised you most about working for Marriott?
I think the most surprising thing to me is how fast we continue to grow and how we adapt to our environment.
How have you used the Marriott Explore Rate?
I have used it to travel to Hawaii, Denmark, Mexico and any time we need a little get away or staycation in California we use the Explore Rate discount.