Lee Hillson bid farewell to his comfortable executive chef gig at the Royal Palms a month ago to take on new managerial and operational challenges as executive sous at The Phoenician. Now Todd Sicolo is stepping in to take Hillson's place at the Royal Palms, leaving an executive chef vacancy at the Arizona Biltmore. It's musical chairs, chef-style. Sicolo starts November 5.
In his five-year tenure at the Biltmore, Sicolo oversaw the 2009 launch of Frank & Albert's, the resort's casual (and, thanks to Sicolo, surprisingly playful) breakfast-lunch-and-dinner venue, light years better than its dull and utterly predictable incarnation as Biltmore Grill. And last year, Sicolo was large and in charge when Wright's got a chic design makeover (a la Judi Testani) plus a back-to-the-future menu overhaul that put classics such as Beef Wellington and Lobster Thermidor in a modern context.
"I loved the team and loved the hotel, Sicolo says, "and it's been awesome to develop the restaurants, manage menus and train staff. I love properties that have history." Now he's moving to another gracious Grand Dame, this one a bit more intimate.
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Word is, T. Cook's is slated for its own major renovation next summer. Meanwhile, Sicolo hopes to add his signature lighthearted touch to its menu as well.