Hotel Lucine announced the hiring of Leila Ortiz as its Executive Chef.
Ortiz will oversee and manage the day-to-day operations of the kitchen at the hotel, including the all-day menu at its lobby restaurant, rooftop bar, and pool, as well as The Fancy, Hotel Lucine’s premiere restaurant with its 55 seats and “American Fine-ish Dining.” Ortiz comes to Hotel Lucine after stints abroad in the kitchens of the Sheraton and Westin Hotels, but also notably as Sous Chef of New York’s Momofuku Noodle Bar and as Sous Chef and Operations Manager for Houston’s UBPreserv. With Texas roots and global experience, Ortiz’s background makes her a natural fit for Hotel Lucine that draws inspiration, creativity, and guests from both near and far.
“I have been incredibly lucky to have Leila working with me to develop the opening menus for the hotel,” notes Hotel Lucine’s Food and Beverage Partner, Chef Justin Yu. “She has a way about her that is incredibly easy-going, but her flavors are fierce and pop with a lot of pizazz. I can’t wait to show Galveston what we’ve been working on.”
“Having the opportunity to join the Hotel Lucine team and help develop a new space for dining and socializing in Galveston is both daunting and exciting,” says Ortiz. “The hotel is going to make so many great memories, and I can’t wait to be a part of that.”
Slated to open in spring 2023, the 61-room Hotel Lucine features both breakfast and an all-day menu at its lobby bar with ample outdoor seating poolside and upstairs at its lively rooftop bar. Guests will find themselves having cocktails possibly too early in the day and snacking on its menu of mostly small, shareable plates, or may find themselves accidentally having a whole meal after a second cocktail. Ortiz is particularly excited for a plate of chilled heirloom tomatoes served campechana-style and a pressed chicken sandwich with her spicy Puerto Rican mojo verde, housemade pickles and fontina. Inspired by her love of expressing flavors of her Asian and Latin heritage, Ortiz is excited to find new and comforting ways to present such flavors that are dear to her.
The Fancy, on the other hand, flexes a whole other muscle serving dinner seven nights a week, as well as lunch and brunch with a slight French zhoosh on “Fancy” American cuisine. Yu and Ortiz’s shared value for strong fundamental cooking and exceptional sourcing will be evident in the menu. The duo points to dishes such as their simple roast chicken, sourced from nearby Alvin, Texas’s Jolly Farm served with mushroom duxelle and black pepper dumplings, as well as gulf fish from Galveston’s own Katie’s Seafood wrapped in potato and served “animal style” with smoked paprika soubise sauce. Yu and Ortiz look for meals at The Fancy to feel reminiscent of a familial Sunday dinner, with food worth celebrating and cherishing.
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