How does a hotel company create and grow a culture of culinary excellence for today’s world? What structures and measures can be put in place to attract and retain world class talent? What adjustments have had to be made for the new world and guests?
Michael Ellis Chief Culinary Officer – Jumeirah Group
Chief Culinary Officer – Jumeirah Group
Michael Ellis joined Jumeirah Group as Chief Culinary Officer in 2018. Michael oversees the F&B operations at all Jumeirah hotels and resorts and leads the culinary teams across the entire range of restaurants and dining outlets, from signature and fine dining to family and more casual dining experiences.
Michael joined Jumeirah from Michelin Restaurant and Hotel Guides where he was Global Director for Europe, Asia and the Americas. Michael has a long international and distinguished career in culinary as well as a deep passion for food and the dining experience. He has spent his lifetime championing amazing food with absolute dedication, his knowledge is unparalleled and he is a true gastronomic encyclopedia.
An advocate for the restaurant industry and an American native with a global workplace, Michael has an unmatched understanding of destination restaurants. Michael’s role is to focus on developing new restaurant concepts, attracting and upskilling culinary talent, and enhancing existing restaurants to industry-leading levels.
The appointment of Michael as Jumeirah’s Chief Culinary Officer was an important milestone in José Silva’s strategy to refresh and elevate Jumeirah’s restaurant offerings throughout its luxury portfolio, and a first step in delivering his vision to put dining as a core pillar of the Jumeirah experience, and its strongest market differentiator.
Michael has an MBA from INSEAD in France.
In conversation with
Chef Marco Garfagnini Executive Chef – Jumeirah Al Naseem and Head Chef of Sal
Chef Marco Garfagnini
Executive Chef – Jumeirah Al Naseem and Head Chef of Sal
Chef Marco Garfagnini joined Jumeirah in July 2018 as Executive Chef – Jumeirah Al Naseem. Today, as Jumeirah continues its drive to elevate its restaurant experiences worldwide, Chef Marco leads the Al Naseem culinary team and has taken a new responsibility as the Head Chef of SAL – a striking new destination at Burj Al Arab Jumeirah serving sea-inspired Southern European dishes. Chef Marco works closely with Michael Ellis, Chief Culinary Officer, and José Silva, CEO, to support the Group’s restaurant and dining development across the portfolio.
Chef Marco Garfagnini was born in Tuscany. An Italian who was destined to cook, he cultivated his passion for cooking in his family kitchen in Carrara before then continuing his skill abroad; in Paris, London, and New York. Bringing decades of experience in the world’s top kitchens to Jumeirah, Chef Marco’s passion lies in the art of creating great dining experiences that offer simple, harmonious cuisines - cooking from the heart.
Under his leadership in Jumeirah, he helped drive the successful Jumeirah Beach Hotel relaunch opening. In this role as the Executive Chef for Jumeirah Al Naseem, he leads a team of +150 chefs and stewards and is responsible for seven restaurants – The Palmery, Rockfish, Summersalt, Kalsa, Ambar, Al Mandhar, and Sugarmash. He also manages the banquet operations and private dining. His priority is to create unique offerings, making Jumeirah Al Naseem not only the place to stay but also a leading hotel in its culinary offerings.
Prior to his time in Jumeirah, Chef Marco had a remarkable journey, full of prestigious accolades in the culinary world. In 1999, at an age of just 25, he opened his own restaurant Ristorante Ninan is Carrara, and was awarded his first Michelin star 1999. In 2011, Chef Marco led the way for ll Lago at Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, Geneva to receive its first Michelin star. And in 2015, he was the Corporate Executive Chef at Chateau de Noirieux Relais & Chateaux in Briollay, France and was awarded the first Michelin star for the hotel. In 2016, before taking his role with Jumeirah, Chef Marco joined Pierre Gagnaire as Executive Chef de Cuisine for all his restaurants, including the iconic Courchevel property, Les Airelles. His restaurants were recognised by Michelin Guide with two stars.
Chef Marco was also named Young Italian Chef of the Year by renowned Italian Gambero Rosso guide. And was recognised a finalist for the Best Chef in Italy award.
Chef Kim Joinié-Maurin Executive Chef – Al Mahara Restaurant
Chef Kim Joinié-Maurin
Executive Chef – Al Mahara Restaurant