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Jeffrey Vigilla Joins Hilton Hawiian Village As Executive Chef
Former James Beard House guest chef returns to his native Hawaii after overseeing culinary teams across the globe
January 30, 2009
HONOLULU, Hawaii - HiltonHawaiian Village® Beach Resort & Spa has announced the appointment of Jeffrey Vigilla to executive chef of the 3,874-room resort. Vigilla replaces Daniel LaGarde, who has moved to the Arizona Biltmore as director of food and beverage.
Chef Vigilla brings to the Hilton Hawaiian Village nearly three decades of professional experience, with strengths in customer service, menu structuring, dining presentation and personnel training. He will oversee the culinary operations at the resort, including restaurants, lounges, special events and catered functions.
Chef Vigilla spent 14 years in various executive chef and executive sous chef positions at five-star Ritz-Carlton hotels in San Francisco, California; Kapalua, Hawaii; Seoul, Korea; Cancun, Mexico; Key Biscayne, Florida and Amelia Island. Early in his career with Ritz-Carlton, the hotel company sent him to apprentice at the Hotel de Paris in Monaco. He was selected to be on the pre-opening training task force for new Ritz-Carlton properties in Bali and Washington DC and was also invited to be a guest chef at the prestigious James Beard House in New York.
The Ritz-Carlton veteran moved on to LXR Hotels as area executive chef, handling multiple hotel, golf restaurant and banquet facilities at Naples Grande Beach Resort & Club; Edgewater Beach Hotel and Naples Grande Golf Club. He also was appointed by LXR to oversee a task force that implemented new programs at resorts in Colorado, New York, Florida, Chicago and Puerto Rico.
Jeffrey Vigilla grew up on a farm in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii, and his first experience in the culinary world was as a 15-year-old dishwasher at the Hilo Bay Hotel. He went on to be a buffet runner and a cook for the employees' meals. Vigilla moved to Oahu in 1980 and honed his skills at hotels and restaurants throughout the island, including Pacific Beach Hotel, Pagoda, Sheraton Waikiki, Ala Moana Hotel and even Hilton Hawaiian Village.
In 1991, Vigilla left Oahu to work for Hyatt Hotels and later joined Ritz-Carlton. After nearly 20 years away he has returned to Hawaii to rejoin the beachfront Hilton Hawaiian Village.
Vigilla, who is of Hawaiian, Filipino, Chinese and Caucasian ancestry, grew up living in a home that was true melting pot.
"My roots in Hawaii have greatly influenced my cooking style," said Chef Vigilla. "The variety of ethnicities here, combined with what I've absorbed during my travels to exotic counties throughout the world, help me create culinary adventures for my guests," continued Vigilla.
Chef Vigilla has several tasks at hand as he works to create new menus for the Hilton Hawaiian Village's popular luau, as well as its soon-to-open expanded Tropics Bar & Grill. With groups and private functions playing such a large role at the resort, he also has plans to revamp the resort's catering menus.
"We know that Chef Jeffrey will be able to take Hilton Hawaiian Village to even greater heights as we expand and improve our culinary operations, "remarked Brian Keys, director of food and beverage, Hilton Hawaiian Village. "With the expansive variety of what we offer here, we are fortunate to have someone with such enormous talent and creativity as Jeffrey," said Keys.
The Hilton Hawaiian Village houses more than 16 outlets, including restaurants that are a mix of Hilton-owned venues, including the award-winning Bali by the Sea, as well as a variety of respected restaurant brands, including Round Table Pizza, Hatsuhana Japanese restaurant and sushi bar, Benihana's Japanese teppan steakhouse and Starbucks Coffee.
Bali by the Sea®, the resort's signature restaurant, is honored year after year with high acclaims. Culinary recognition regionally and nationally includes Zagat's, Honolulu magazine's Hale ‘Aina Awards, Gourmet magazine and AAA Four Diamond awards.
For access to an image of Chef Jeffrey Vigilla, click on the following link: www.hiltonfamilyhawaii.com/press-room-images.aspx
About the Village
Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa is Waikiki's only self-contained destination resort. A vacationer, business traveler or conventioneer finds everything necessary for a visit to paradise, yet also is within walking distance of everything Waikiki offers. The resort spans 22 acres, offering the widest stretch of beach on Waikiki, a beachfront lagoon, waterfalls, five pools, gardens, an exquisite art collection and exotic wildlife, as well as nightly entertainment including the King's Jubilee every Friday, a Hawaiian music and dance celebration that ends with a brilliant fireworks display on the beach. In addition, the Village also boasts more than 90 shops, 20 restaurants and lounges, as well as the independently owned and operated Mandara Spa.
For reservations, call toll-free at 1-800-HILTONS (1-800-445-8667) from the U.S. and Canada, call the resort directly at (808) 949-4321, or visit www.hilton.com. For more information on Hilton Hawaiian Village and the Hilton ohana in Hawaii, visit www.hiltonfamilyhawaii.com.
About Hilton Hotels & Resorts
For nearly a century, Hilton Hotels & Resorts has been proudly welcoming the world's travelers. With more than 575 hotels across six continents, Hilton Hotels & Resorts provides the foundation for memorable travel experiences and values every guest who walks through its doors. As the flagship brand of Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts continues to set the standard for hospitality, providing new product innovations and services to meet guests' evolving needs. Hilton Hotels & Resorts is a part of the award-winning Hilton Honors program. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else, free standard Wi-Fi, and digital amenities like digital check-in with room selection and Digital Key (select locations), available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app. Begin your journey at www.hilton.com and learn more about the brand by visiting news.hilton.com or following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.