The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2013

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Vice President, Food and Beverage, Rim Hospitality A PHOTO: DAVID GADD Taking Inventory with. . . Al Ferrone l Ferrone is the newly appointed Vice President of Food and Beverage for Rim Hospitality, one of the leading hotel management companies in North America. The California-based company has prominent franchise associations with Starwood, Marriott, Hilton, Carlson and Holiday Inn, and also manages boutique properties such as the Hotel Erwin in Venice, CA, and the Hotel Angeleno in L.A.'s Brentwood neighborhood. With an impressive background that includes chef training at the Culinary Institute of America and senior-level F&B positions at some of New York City's most prestigious hotels, including The Waldorf Astoria New York, JW Marriott Essex House New York, Le Parker Meridien and the New York Marriott Marquis, Ferrone comes well-equipped. At Rim Hospitality, he is now responsible for developing restaurant concepts; overseeing training, menu planning and purchasing programs; creating special promotions; executing strategic marketing concepts; and managing the overall food and beverage operations for multiple Rim Hospitality properties. Currently, Ferrone is overseeing conAl Ferrone, photographed at West Restaurant atop struction of a chefdriven restaurant in the Hotel Angeleno in Los Angeles. Tucson. Although associated with a Rim Hospitality hotel, the freestanding brasserie will be a destination on its own. "My biggest challenge is to eliminate the notion that restaurants located within a hotel are strictly 'hotel restaurants'" says Ferrone. "Instead, I want guests to understand that they are dining in restaurants located in hotels and these restaurants are the places to be in that area. I'm a big believer in something a mentor told me years ago: Hotel rooms are only a holding place before the guests come to the restaurant. I live by those words and want guests to experience the restaurants for what they are and not for being known as a 'hotel restaurant.'" At a current project in Downtown Los Angeles, Ferrone is taking a hands-on approach to a new DoubleTree hotel (the name of which is still being determined) to make sure the property will be unique and local market–oriented in its food and beverage offerings: "We're not going to cookie-cutter it." Ferrone acknowledges that American hotel guests and restaurant consumers are far more savvy today than in the past. "Everybody is an expert now," he says, "and it's raised the level"—a welcome change that makes his job both more challenging and, ultimately, more rewarding. "I've spent my entire career in the food and beverage industry, most of it in hotels," says Ferrone. "Knowing that the focus of the hotel business is on rooms, my goal has always been to make food and beverage just as important a factor." —David Gadd The "5" LIST Al Ferrone's Top Five Faves 1 Pushing the envelope of new foods to try. I can't think of a challenge I ever turned down. 2 Going to the farmers' market or to the farm. 3 Wine tastings and tours—anywhere. There are 17 wineries in Tucson these days. 4 Making homemade hot sauce. Lately, I've used ghost chilies from India and Trinidad chilies with 1.2 million Scoville units (Habaneros have 80,000). 5 Spending quality time traveling with my family, both at home and abroad. Al Ferrone's Top Pet Peeves 1 The perfect storm of bad food, poor service and indifferent management—this will close a place down. 2 Food and beverage not served at the proper temperature. 3 A limited bar with a poor selection and bad glassware. Glassware has as much to do with the drink as the ingredients themselves. 4 A dirty kitchen. Even an old kitchen can be clean. 5 A chef who looks to create a special by cleaning out the walk-in versus shopping at the farmers' market to bring the best the season has to offer to diners. There's nothing special about leftovers! 146  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2013 TP0713_100-148.indd 146 6/24/13 6:05 PM

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