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HOT PROPERTY A Talented Triple Threat FOOD AND BEVERAGE DIRECTOR STEVEN TERREBONNE MASTERS FOOD, WINE AND COCKTAILS AT THE AVIA HOTEL, LONG BEACH by Rachel Burkons / photo by Maria Schriber A s I walked into the impeccably-decorated lobby of the AVIA Hotel in Long Beach, California, I knew I’d be meeting with Steven Terrebonne, the property’s Food and Beverage Director. Five minutes into our poolside interview—the property’s rooftop pool is delightful, replete with views of the Queen Mary and the city’s beloved Aquarium of the Pacifi c—I realized that the title of Food and Beverage doesn’t even come close to covering all of the tasks in which Terrebonne has a hand. “Who is your Executive Chef?” I asked, pen poised to jot down the name of the chef talented enough to run the hotel’s seasonally-emphasized, California-fresh, farm-to-table dining program. “Uh, I’m actually the Executive Chef,” admits Terrebonne modestly. Later, as we’re perched at the sleek, elegant AVIA Wine Bar, I ask if he has a sommelier on staff; he tells me no, that he handles that as well. Finally, as he vigorously shakes a SKYY vodka–based Cucumber Martini, I hazard to guess: “May I assume you’re also here behind the stick?” Terrebonne smiles and admits, “Yeah, usually twice a week.” It is this hands-on approach and attention to detail that’s helped make AVIA one of Southern California’s hottest hotel destinations (nestled between Los Angeles and Orange County, the property caters strongly to business travelers, vacationers and locals alike), but Terrebonne is nothing if not a team player, and is quick to credit his staff’s many talents in keeping the AVIA ship sailing smoothly. “Getting to do so many different things keeps me on my toes,” says this Cordon Bleu alum, who also spent time at the University of New Orleans. “But I couldn’t do it without my staff. I’ve got good people surrounding me.” Under Terrebonne’s watchful eye, the hotel’s food and beverage program offers gourmet fare, 45 wines available property-wide and a highly-focused cocktail program that’s among the best in the city. “We’re seeing a lot more of our clientele looking for cocktails and spirits than wine,” explains Terrebonne, who has responded by perfecting the art of the cocktail in his most popular drink, the House Infused Margarita, made with pineapple- and fresh ginger–infused Patrón. Although the ever-popular (and totally delicious) Margarita remains on the menu year-round, AVIA boasts a seasonal cocktail menu that will star a pecan-infused Maker’s Mark cocktail this fall and winter. “Brown spirits will be making a major play on our menu,” says Terrebonne, “but ulti- mately, my philosophy is about the customer and catering to that individual experience with some one-on-one time.” AVIA Hotel’s Director of Food and Beverage Steven Terrebonne gets hands-on with his House Infused Margarita, made from pineapple- and fresh ginger–infused Patrón. 34 / the tasting panel / november 2010 Between the kitchen, the wine bar, making fresh simple syrups (rosemary, honey, thyme and agave are standard) and tending to the rooftop herb garden he’s planning, it’s a wonder Terrebonne has time to meet directly with his guests, but we shouldn’t be surprised: It seems there’s nothing this master of all trades can’t do.

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