Michael Cairns

Michael Cairns

At the helm of Montelucia Resort & Spa’s impressive food and beverage program is Executive Chef Michael Cairns. Whether preparing for a party of five or a party of 5,000, Cairns brings a creative approach to dining and offers guests more than 30 years of consulting experience on numerous culinary endeavors. Cairns oversees five dining venues at Montelucia, including the resort’s signature AAA Four Diamond restaurant, Prado, and the resort’s newest eatery, CENTRO Lounge. Prior to joining Montelucia at the beginning of 2012, Cairns served as Executive Chef at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix, where he managed 11 kitchens (including banquets and restaurants), a staff of 125 culinarians (cooks and sous chefs) and 75 stewards. On a typical day, he and his crew prepared breakfast for 2,000 guests, lunch for 2,000 and dinner for 5,000 – or more than a million covers in a year. Cairns also had experience running his own catering business, Urban Chefs AZ, for four years with clients ranging from major banquet facilities, upscale restaurants, and special events, including “Phoenix Cooks,” Arizona’s premier food and wine event. Cairns has received numerous accolades throughout his career, including being honored at the prestigious James Beard House in New York in 2004. In 2003, he was recognized for his culinary skills with the “Best Chef” Critic’s Choice Award at the Vail Wine & Food Festival, above top chefs from across the country in a competition judged by leading food and wine writers. Over the years, has been chosen to represent Phoenix at many Convention & Visitors Bureau events with Gourmet and Bon Appétit magazines across...
Jesse Hansen

Jesse Hansen

“You have to have a diverse culinary background, because one day you could be cooking Tex-Mex and the next day could be biryani for an Indian wedding. Flexibility is key, plus a streak of adventure from time to time.” Chef Jesse Hansen went to culinary school in his hometown of Santa Barbara, and was drawn to the kitchen from a young age. His mother helped propel him forward in the culinary arts, recognizing and nurturing his early passion and proficiency. “I liked to eat. My mom was a vegetarian, and an excellent home cook, showing me how to prepare fresh vegetable dishes,” says Chef Hansen. “However, if I wanted to eat meat, I had to learn how to make it myself.” Chef Hansen joined Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in 1997 at the Resort’s sister property in Santa Barbara. Coincidentally, it was Chef Mel Mecinas, now Executive Chef in Scottsdale, who helped hire Chef Hansen into a culinary role at the Resort. After four-and-a-half years at the Santa Barbara property, Chef Hansen transferred to the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco, where he worked in many different roles.. A memorable achievement during his time in California was assisting with a multi-course, USD 2,500.00 per person charity meal at Hearst Castle. Surrounded by executive chefs from across Four Seasons, Chef Hansen knew he had found his calling. He was amazed that people were paying that amount of money for food he was helping to prepare, and understood the level of responsibility to give them their money’s worth. Next stop was the brand’s property in Toronto, Canada, where Chef Hansen worked for...
Paul McCabe

Paul McCabe

Appointed Executive Chef in May 2013, Paul McCabe brings a lifetime career of culinary experience to the Royal Palms Resort and Spa team.  A veteran food and beverage executive, Chef McCabe has honed his skills at top hotels, resorts and independent restaurant ventures throughout his extensive career. As Executive Chef, McCabe oversees all culinary operations at the resort, including assuming responsibility of the resort’s highly acclaimed T. Cook’s restaurant, business and social catering, meeting and group functions, banquets and in-room dining service of the 119-room resort. Chef McCabe has played a significant role in the new chapter of T. Cook’s evolution, as the longtime Phoenix restaurant recently emerged from its grand revitalization. His culinary style can be summed up in three words—crafted, thoughtful and bold—which are all precisely in line with the Mediterranean principles of simple preparations, uncomplicated dishes, and seasonal ingredients. A Sedona native, Chef McCabe is excited to return to the vastly open spaces and scenic mountains of his home state, a departure from his most recent residence in Southern California. An avid mountain biker and lover of the outdoors, Chef McCabe has already begun embracing his Arizona roots while exploring the growing dining scene Phoenix and Scottsdale have to offer. Mostly, Chef McCabe looks forward to becoming involved in the local culture by interacting with the community of farmers, guests and Valley residents. Chef McCabe is known most notably for his eight-year contribution as Executive Chef of L’Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa, a sister Destination Hotels & Resorts property, where he launched the resort’s award-winning fine dining restaurant Kitchen 1540. Chef McCabe has also served...
Nicholas “Niko” Hertel

Nicholas “Niko” Hertel

Nicholas Hertel is the Chef de Cuisine at the Boulders, a Waldorf Astoria Resort a luxury desert hideaway in Carefree, Arizona.  He oversees four kitchen operations at the main resort including the Palo Verde, the Pool Pavilion, In-Room Dining and the Discovery Lounge.  Chef Hertel is in charge of all menu creations and preparations and overseeing daily supervision and training of restaurant staff. A classically trained chef, Hertel mixes new contemporary ideas and flavors with fresh local ingredients including the seasonal harvest from the resort’s 5,600 sq. ft. Organic Garden.  He also works with local producers ranging from heirloom vegetables and lettuce from farms near South Mountain; melons from Arizona’s produce capital, Nogales; pumpkins from Prescott; Arizona citrus and corn from Yuma; all which form the basis for his menus. Hertel’s early affinity for the culinary arts dates back to his early teens spending time in his family kitchen helping his parents cook. His early travels to Europe also included experience working in kitchens in Paris, Barcelona, Copenhagen and Stockholm where he absorbed the local food cultures igniting his passion for cooking. In 2005, he moved to Scottsdale to attend culinary school.  During that time, he worked as Chef de Partie at The Phoenician Resort learning classical culinary skills, first-hand, at the Five Star restaurant Mary Elaine’s until 2008. He then worked under the tutelage of award-winning Chef Charlie Trotter and was part of the opening for his namesake Las Vegas restaurant “Charlie” in the Palazzo Hotel. Shortly thereafter, he became the Sous Chef for Charlie Trotters in Chicago and admits that working for Chef Trotter was like attending...
Jennie Heal

Jennie Heal

Jennie Heal – Professional Benefit Auctioneer Supreme Auctions LLC jennieheal.com   Jennie was born in Somerset, England. Growing up she attended many auctions with her father, from estate auctions, cattle auctions, to antiques and antiquities auctions. After graduating, Jennie traveled the World extensively accumulating over 15 years of international sales and marketing experience. It is her years of experience and working with others from diversified backgrounds, that Jennie brings to every aspect of the auction business, from initial preparations and fine details to the Live Auction Event. Among the organizations and non-profits that Jennie has worked with are The Phoenix Zoo, The Governors, The Wellness Community, St. Jude’s Hospital, The Desert Foothills Land Trust, many schools and others. She is passionate about her work and thoroughly enjoys being able to help non-profits raise funds that will enable them to provide their services and help others. Through her love of volunteering, Jennie gets to know each organizations mission; she is then able to share that message during the Live Auction. Jennie received her formal auctioneer training when she attended and graduated from the Texas Auction Academy, she is a licensed Broker, with Supreme Auctions LLC and graduate of the Professional Ringmans Institute and National Auctioneers Association. Jennie enjoys Auctioning at Charity Events and brings just a touch of “Sotheby’s” to the Auction...
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