Michael Beck, a highly experienced chef who has excelled at menu and culinary development and implementation at prestigious award-winning resorts in California, Colorado and Hawaii, has been announced as the new executive chef of Hotel Irvine, the recently repositioned 536-room Orange County lifestyle hotel, owned and operated by the Irvine Company.
Beck will oversee the revision of private events menus including those for weddings, social entertaining and community group and business meetings, as well as be responsible for product sourcing and procurement. He will head operations for the hotel’s innovative “Everyday Breakfast” program for hotel guests and for its popular “grab and go” 24/7 The Marketplace. In addition, he will manage the culinary operations for the property’s executive lounge, Club 12. Beck’s cheffing background has been mainly centered on French, Moroccan and Italian cuisine; but now he calls his food New American and is thrilled with the California bounty of pristine products he can access for Hotel Irvine’s culinary outlets.
“We are delighted to welcome Michael to the Hotel Irvine team,” said Jeroen Quint, recently appointed general manager of the property. “He is a dynamic leader and exemplary mentor with impressive credentials and achievements in the luxury hotel and club arenas. His expertise and vision for our culinary programs and outlets will be invaluable as we continue to position Hotel Irvine as the top Orange County destination and community hub for meetings and events, as well for business and leisure travel.”
In his new position, Beck is looking forward to introducing new chef-driven private event menus that will focus on food quality, freshness and, most importantly, flavor. He intends to design a roster of options for events and meetings to include uncomplicated, yet appealing European- and American-style breakfast choices such as hot sandwiches, frittatas and skillets. His goal for private events lunch and dinner menus is to present contemporary restaurant-oriented choices to planners and hosts and then deliver restaurant quality food at all functions. Another goal is to make morning, mid-day and afternoon food and beverage breaks fun and exciting by focusing on themes and providing up-to-date interactive action stations manned by chefs. In addition, developing a new down-to-earth dessert menu for private events is part of Beck’s overall plan – featuring housemade, mouthwatering classics such as sticky toffee pudding, butterscotch pots de crème and strawberry rhubarb polenta crisp.
“The hotel’s ‘It’s all about the guest’ mantra and its dedication to personalized, flexible service gives me the opportunity to develop innovative lifestyle dining offerings certain to appeal to our guests and local businesspeople,” says Beck.
Originally from Austria., Beck has worked at upscale award-winning clubs and properties for over 20 years since living in the U.S, including serving as executive chef at The Valley Hunt Club in Pasadena, Calif., and holding the same position at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. In Colorado, he helmed the kitchen at The Brown Palace Hotel in Denver and at the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa. Prior to that, Beck was the top chef at The Grand Wailea in Maui, Hawaii, and at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in culinary arts in Austria and is fluent in English and German.