Chris Brown is leaving his position as executive chef at JW Marriott Orlando, but he has only a short stroll to his new job. Brown will be taking over as director of food and beverage at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando. Both properties are on the Grande Lakes estate.
In his new job, Brown will oversee the management of all things food and beverage at the Ritz, including the new and critically acclaimed Highball & Harvest restaurant. (Norman's at the Ritz-Carlton is privately owned and operated.)
While at JW Marriott he led the creation of Whisper Creek Farm, the 18,000 square foot farm that produces herbs and produce used by both hotels. He has also been involved in two upcoming projects: an onsite brewery and The Kitchen, a restaurant at the farm. Both are expected to open in the spring. Brown will still be involved in those projects as he helps transition his replacement as executive chef at the Marriott. An announcement about that position is expected soon. Brown replaces Brian McHugh, who has transferred to the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain in Arizona.
"We are delighted to welcome Chris Brown to The Ritz-Carlton Orlando," Jon McGavin, the Ritz-Carlton's general manager, said in a statement released Wednesday. "His knowledge and talent combined with his exceptional experience at Grande Lakes Orlando will allow him to continue to positively grow the culinary program at the resort."
Brown, a graduate of Johnson & Wales University, is a certified cicerone (a beer equivalent of a sommelier), master barbecue cook and certified judge of the Kansas City Barbeque Society. Prior to joining the JW Marriott Orlando, Brown was executive chef at the company's Tucson Starr Pass and has also cooked at the Orlando World Center Marriott and the New Orleans Marriott.