Marriott banquet chef job career story
Courtesy of Lucas P.

Name: Liezle E.
Position: Banquet Chef
Hotel: The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto

A culinary job at Marriott can — and does — include way more than cooking. Take Liezle, a Banquet Chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto, as an example.

Since she joined the company as a Senior Cook in 2019, she’s been involved in projects like developing the hotel’s menu, determining how food should be presented, managing the kitchen’s budget, organizing and executing big events and much more. But one of the most exciting moments in her career came when she taught David Marriott how to make tomato tartare with burrata. So, how did that happen?

Last summer, Liezle and her team hosted Marriott’s Board of Directors meeting where they tested their ability to work together in a creative and logistic effort to dazzle Marriott’s top leaders’ palates. And dazzle they did!

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“The amount of work I put into planning the event to make sure it was flawless, from writing the menu to having the right products, to shopping for custom décor and to the final execution… I felt the amazing collaborative efforts between all the departments involved with the event and I am so proud of my team for coming together to work on the fine details.” she recalls. “The best part was hearing the amazing feedback from all of the board, especially that they loved the tomato tartare with burrata and wanted the recipe!”

The Directors enjoyed the meal so much that a few months after the event, David Marriott himself invited Liezle to Marriott HQ in Bethesda, MD to make the Tomato Tartare. “This was the highlight of my year, meeting David Marriott and showing him what we do at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto.”

Learn more about Liezle’s journey in her own words below.

How has your career changed since you started working at Marriott?

I started my journey when I went to Culinary School and at the same time working at several restaurants in Downtown Toronto before relocating to Fairmont Hotels. I joined The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto in 2019 as a Senior Cook in the Banquet department where I quickly showed my leadership skills and achieved the Sous Chef position in 2022. During my time at Marriott, I have had leaders who inspired and pushed me to my limits to bring out the best of me. They have helped me to achieve my goal of inspiring my team to be creative and come up with amazing results.

Marriott banquet chef job career story

Courtesy of Liezle E.

How would you describe your experience as a Marriott associate?

My experience as a Marriott associate has been rewarding. I had the opportunity to continuously learn and grow and to pursue excellence within the food industry. Marriott gave me the opportunity to travel to Headquarters and be part of the Women of Food & Beverage Event. There I met other female chefs I connected with and shared the same experience working in the kitchen.

What was your Marriott interview process like, and any tips for candidates who want a role like yours?

The interview process for my current role was very insightful. At The Ritz-Carlton they recruit the top 1% candidates. First, Marriott headquarter recruiters conducted the phone screening. Then I had a panel STAR interview with the Director of Human Resources and Director of Food and Beverage.

My advice for candidates aiming for a role like mine is to highlight their personality and behavior. In the kitchen we look for the right attitude and mindset that can fit with the rest of the team. Once we select the right candidate, we can then teach all the technical skills to perform the job.

Marriott banquet chef job career story

Courtesy of Liezle E.

When have you most felt like a part of a community?

I spent the majority of my time at The Ritz Carlton. This place has become my second home and the ladies and gentlemen [who work here] have become family. We share the same goal to create unique, memorable and personal experiences for our guests.

Which of Marriott’s values resonate most with you?

“We Embrace Change.” As a chef you need to be able to adapt to all the changes in the kitchen. This value resonates with me the most because I have had continuous growth within my field. Being able to embrace change is one of the qualities to successfully run a culinary department.

How would you describe Marriott’s culture?

As a chef working at a large hotel where we work long hours, we tend to lose ourselves in the process. We become so focused on our work that we forget our own wellbeing. Marriott has many resources to ensure all associates take care first and feel part of the company.

Marriott banquet chef job career story

Courtesy of Liezle E.

What does a good day at work look like for you?

A good day at work for me is making sure I have everything on my task list completely done. This involves planning and organizing events and ensuring everything is flawless prior to guest arrival. And making sure my team has all the products they need to complete their tasks as well.

Favorite part of working at Marriott?

My favorite part of working at Marriott is being able to be a part of something bigger than myself. The countless opportunities the company has given me to grow and to foster a work environment where diversity is valued and individual aspirations are fulfilled, have truly been a blessing.

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