SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 14, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Westin La Cantera Hill Country Resort is thrilled to announce that Chef Dirk Troop has joined the staff as Executive Chef. A native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania Chef Dirk Troop began his culinary journey at the age of 13 as a dishwasher at an Italian restaurant. Troop dedicated years in the kitchen to refine his skills and develop innovative dishes that are a signature of his cooking today.
"It was important for us to bring in a chef with unique culinary expertise and a passion for food, who also possessed the skills and experience needed to manage a resort culinary staff," said Stuart Meyerson, General Manager at The Westin La Cantera Hill Country Resort. "We are thrilled to have Chef Troop join our team and look forward to the innovative cuisine he will bring to the resort."
Troop did not start his career with aspirations of becoming a master chef; he just wanted to make enough money for new soccer cleats. It wasn't until Troop went to work at Smoking Jake's Barbecue that he saw a culinary career in his future. It was at that local rib joint that Troop realized he could cook and that he wanted to become a chef.
Smoking Jake's owner was Tom Stoner, a Culinary Institute of America (CIA) graduate and Troop's true culinary mentor. Stoner was committed to high-quality food prepared by hand, a belief that has stayed with Troop throughout his culinary journey. Stoner trained and championed Troop as he advanced his career with positions at the storied Greenbriar Hotel and Resort in West Virginia, then on to the Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh. Troop's passion for cooking fueled his aspirations of becoming an Executive Chef. Troop realized he was missing the credentials needed for the elite culinary position, and at age 23, he enrolled at the CIA to gather the expertise he needed.
The CIA gave Troop did more than advance his career. It is also where he met his wife, Alejandra Valdivia, a fellow CIA student and a woman who truly understands his culinary passions. Born in Puerto Rico, Valdivia was studying to be a pastry chef when she met Troop. After completing their culinary studies the two were married and relocated to her native Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico provided Troop with the opportunity to grow as a chef and experience and a rich culinary landscape. He began as the restaurant chef at the Caribe Hilton, quickly advanced to Banquet Chef, and finally Executive Sous Chef. After seven years at Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico, Hilton approached Troop with an Executive Chef post that was both challenging and exciting.
As the Executive Chef at Hilton Papagayo Resort in Costa Rica, Troop had to adjust to a completely different culinary environment. He had immersed himself in the Latin-Caribbean influenced cuisine of Puerto Rico. "The cuisine in Costa Rica was new to me, similar to Puerto Rico and the Atlantic-Caribbean but also similar to Hawaii," says Troop. "It's on the Pacific so the seafood and fruit were the best I have ever seen." Troop embraced the region and its cuisine, marrying his influences and skills with the local dishes and creating new and innovative interpretations.
Joining The Westin La Cantera Hill Country Resort brings Troop back to his culinary inspiration. "It's not a rib joint but the culinary experience at the resort is true to Texas," said Troop. "The resort's commitment to sourcing products from local farms and ranches is something I respected when I started my career and continue to be passionate about in my cooking today."
Troop will manage seven dining outlets, as well as banquet services and in-room dining.
About Westin Hotels & Resorts
Westin Hotels & Resorts makes the healthiest choices irresistibly appealing, so guests leave feeling better than when they arrived. With more than 180 hotels and resorts in over 36 countries and territories, Westin is owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Starwood Hotels is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,058 properties in 100 countries and territories with 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points®by Sheraton, and the recently launched aloft®, and ElementSM. The company boasts one of the industry's leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.
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Source:The Westin La Cantera Hill Country Resort