Benchmark’s new partnership with Chef Stephan Pyles will take the hotel company’s food and beverage offerings to a new level for groups meeting at any of its 70 Benchmark Resorts & Hotels and Gemstone Collection brand properties.
“Our challenge to get the creative focus and unique innovations that makes Chef Stephan Pyles so acclaimed will be a key priority and focus so that each property can influence and create memorable culinary experiences in all aspects of our F&B programming, which includes our restaurants, catering, meetings and conferences,” says Todd Parmelee, Benchmark’s vice president of food and beverage.
Benchmark’s general managers, chefs and executive team saw the need to amp up the hotel company’s F&B programming to help compete with successful independent restaurants. The new restaurant concepts will appeal to local customers as well as create an authentic, local dining experience for incoming groups. A James Beard semi-finalist this year for Best New Restaurant for Flora Street Café in Dallas, Pyles will create and launch innovative programs in F&B recruitment, restaurant design concepts, culinary training and menu development. The long-term plan for the partnership is to also create a Culinary Academy at one of Benchmark’s culinary-focused resorts.
“The Culinary Academy will start taking on life very soon,” adds Parmelee. “The idea and goal is to create a Benchmark Culinary Academy that allows our current culinary talent to expand their knowledge, techniques, recipe creations and new technology, as we want to become leaders in the hospitality category in the culinary arena. This Culinary Academy will also attract bright new talent from all corners of the map, which in return will support our growth as a leader in the hospitality industry.”
Parmelee adds that groups meeting at any Benchmark property will be able to take advantage of this program because of the education and experience each participant will bring back to his or her property from the Culinary Academy. While the concept is still very much in the planning phase, key factors behind where the Culinary Academy (or Academies) will be placed are primarily based on economic sense, pertaining to equipment in place, space available and centralized locations that will allow for non-tedious travel.