Appointed Executive Chef
At The Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center - IL, USA
The Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center is putting an exclamation point on a multi-year, $25 million property wide transformation with the introduction of a transcendent Executive Chef. Chicago-native Victor Martinez, who's worked his way up from his father's bistro as a teen to some of the most respected kitchens in the country, n ow looks to redefine hotel dining in the suburbs. By bringing an experiential, farm-to-fork culture to culinary operations at Oak Brook Hills Resort, Victor is setting out to change the way people think about hotel food outside the city.
Shadowing that sentiment, Victor's elevated food program at his new suburban retreat, from banquets to restaurant service, incorporates a classically-trained French ideology that highlights the integrity of ingredients. He's focusing heavily on hyperlocal sourcing so that he can build relationships with his materials. When in season, fresh produce for recipes will come from the expansive Chef's Gardens located on the Resort's 150 acres of Audubon-certified grounds. Another interesting culinary component that Victor integrates into all his menus is the widespread use of house honey, farmed on-site in the Resort's Hive Garden. He's doing things differently in Oak Brook to give people opportunities to have authentic experiences in the moment.
If given the opportunity, Victor encourages people to get to know what goes into a recipe before eating it. Some of the unique ways diners can have an interactive experience at Oak Brook Hills Resort is by: picking their own veggies and herbs from the Chef's Gardens for use in their dishes, observing (in protective suits) the resident beekeepers farming for honey, enjoying a private tasting with Chef in his office, or shopping for fresh ingredients at the Resort Farmer's Markets (hosted periodically on-site). Victor's upbringing in the kitchen is where he honed his love for cooking. His earliest memories are working at his father's bistro growing up in Chicago, beginning as a dish washer and eventually helping with food prep. It was at that time when young Victor was first inspired by his dad's passion for cuisine and longed for the Chef's life. After culinary school, Victor's resume quickly took shape within the hotel Food & Beverage world. There was a first brush with Oak Brook Hills Resort, followed by Hyatt, Sofitel, and Four Seasons - where he started to look at cooking as an art form. Victor eventually received a high-profile position for Hilton Corporation, helping run the show at the luxurious Conrad Chicago, before ultimately returning "home" to where his heart is, Oak Brook Hills Resort.