Man In Charge –

Chef Thomas Connell’s job title as VP of operations for culinary and meals and beverage performs like a tongue twister, but in his unassuming, matter-of-simple fact way, Connell condenses it to one sentence: “That usually means I am accountable for what you consume and drink when you’re in this article,” he suggests followed with a smooth chuckle.

“Here” is the iconic Fontainebleau Hotel, recognised for its storied history and glamour considering that opening in 1954. Eating continues to be a key attract, with the residence serving as property to a assortment of movie star chef dining establishments like Scarpetta by Scott Conant, Stripsteak by Michael Mina and award-wining eateries like Hakkasan, a person of the top rated Asian restaurants in city. Connell, 52, who claims he experienced tiny to do with his career choice, abroad them all.   

“This business enterprise is the kind of enterprise that phone calls you, you don’t simply call it, so, I didn’t seriously select it, I experience like it kind of selected me. I just have a adore for food items and was influenced by my grandfather who cherished to cook so I just type of followed the path,” he claims.

The route led the L.A. indigenous to enroll in The Institute of Culinary Arts in Palm Springs, then later on the illustrious Culinary Institute of The us in upstate New York. A stint of occupation positions with hotels like the Hilton and Hyatt adopted in advance of shifting on to The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, in which he expended two decades climbing the culinary ladder doing the job all above the globe, which include a 7-year stint in Barcelona, Spain. That kind of international publicity had a robust and lasting impression on Connell as a full.

“The impact [of living abroad] has an effect on your food items, I consider, but also your character since when you travel and when you are living in yet another nation, you turn out to be really diplomatic.  You have to be open up to culture, to kinds, heritage, custom – matters like that.  And it provides you a totally various viewpoint than if you ended up just born and elevated in the same nation and lived in the similar culture your whole lifetime.” 

The opening of The Ritz-Carlton on Miami’s Lincoln Street introduced Connell to the Magic Metropolis, wherever he stayed a different seven decades ahead of working at the Fontainebleau, a one of a kind possibility he could not refuse. 

“It’s a definitely artisan-based operation. The kitchens are structured like a kitchen area would be created again in the 50s, like hotels again in the 50s — due to the fact, you had to have a bakery, you experienced to have a commissary kitchen area, you experienced to have a saucier, you had to have a chocolatier. You experienced these previous, classic brigades that existed for the reason that no commercial generation of meals existed,” he says.


Overseeing the generation of all the food stuff at the Fontainebleau is plainly no straightforward feat. With six dining establishments as well as area services for 1504 rooms and suites, most would conveniently be overcome. But Connell, who has 1000 workers beneath his watch, strategies it with a serene, disciplined attitude that, after 12 a long time on the task, has plainly served in his favor.

“There’s a good deal of layers of specialist girls and gentlemen that are properly trained in their craft, in their certain expertise and that are passionate about it. So, my selection a single aim is to inspire them, to give direction from the guest’s perspective so that they comprehend why we’re accomplishing what we’re doing and why we’re pushing every other so intently on getting matters accomplished to the maximum amount.”

It is hard to pin down a regular working day for Connell, but most commence with a 2-hour operate as a result of the whole home, which involves “Water Earth,” the 2500-gallon salt h2o tanks (before long to be upgraded to 5,000 gallons) that provide clean seafood for the property’s ocean-to-table house. And while patrons may perhaps not acknowledge him, a little something he is more than all right with (“The title is Fontainebleau, the title is not Thomas Connell,” he attests), it’s his devotion to impeccable company, outstanding delicacies and teamwork that has designed the culinary program at the hotel an irrefutable results. 

“The true passion, the true like for me is the previous faculty of hospitality and so, to me, it’s like a enormous Mattress and Breakfast, you know? Your purchaser and the people in entrance of you — that is your priority,” Connell claims.

There’s no scarcity of inspiration, both. Connell compares his sector as “a reserve that you are going to under no circumstances halt examining, you will by no means end,” because there is so a lot to study every working day.  “I really don’t treatment how very long you are undertaking this small business — your feet remain on the floor the whole time and you just retain your eyes and ears open because that’s the only way to continue to keep obtaining far better.”

When questioned what it suggests to be a good male position design, the father of 4 credits his mom for the strong ethics he retains in the two his personalized and experienced life. 

“My mother was the most influential and strongest individual I ever experienced in my lifestyle. To be ready to see that, no matter whether you are a gentleman or a lady, you have a duty to be a excellent human. I do focus on that. I focus on staying truthful, I aim on staying trustworthy, I nonetheless to this working day – if I tell you I’m heading to do some thing, it’s likely to materialize,” he states.

It is a code of conduct that has outlined him and garners the regard and rely on of those people he will work with — and absolutely some thing he does not acquire frivolously. 

 “People usually check with what’s your major affect as a chief and your biggest effect is how you can have an affect on the men and women that report to you because you can make their existence good, you can make their lifetime miserable. Just in how you are – your demeanor, your actions: how you deal with them, chat to them, seem at them, never speak to them, do not appear at them. We have such an impact on the people today that are all over us and we owe it to them and to ourselves to be honorable to that obligation.”

Octopus And Garlic Prawns

Serves 2

This is a dish I launched to our oceanside bistro La Côte inside of the to start with 12 months of me coming to the residence mainly because I felt it exemplified the cuisine principle of La Côte and the American Riviera. It was an quick strike and has been a best seller ever considering the fact that and heading on 10 a long time now. It is a exclusive dish as well in the presentation and aesthetics that individuals keep in mind and arrive again for. For me, I have generally lived in coastal warm climates and the Mediterranean style to try to eat has often been a person of my beloved cooking styles and eating styles. It is a dish that has goal to the menu and is not just a “filler.”


8 Substantial prawns, shells removed

12 oz. Cooked octopus

1 Complete artichoke, boiled and cleaned

2 Garlic cloves, peeled and sliced slender

10 oz. Olive oil

1⁄3 Bunch parsley, chopped

1 tsp. Smoked paprika

½ Lemon, zested

4 Slices place bread

Salt and pepper, to style


• Assemble all ingredients.

• Dip octopus in boiling seasoned drinking water then reduced warmth and simmer for 40 minutes.

• Take away cooked octopus and make it possible for to neat.

• Slice octopus tentacles in ¼-inch slices.

• Thoroughly clean artichoke to the heart and slice into eighths.

• Warmth oil in a wide surface pan until eventually sizzling but not using tobacco.

• Place garlic in the oil for about 45 seconds.

• Add prawns and octopus.

• Turn prawns around immediately after 90 seconds, increase artichoke then eliminate the pan from the heat.

• Include paprika, chopped parsley, lemon zest and salt and pepper.

• Maintain all elements in the pan and provide relatives design and style with the place bread lightly grilled.