Following the recent number-two ranking in Starwood’s Guest Experience Index for the Sheraton brand, the Sheraton Reston Hotel is continuing to increase their guest services via their food and beverage offerings. A cornerstone of the Reston community for more than 40 years, the hotel continues to take pride in helping each guest enjoy Sheraton’s signature amenities and services and providing a differentiated, exceptional guest experience. The hotel’s food and beverage outlets have always been a large part of that heritage. The hotel is managed by Crescent Hotels & Resorts, a leading operator of hotels with more than 100 properties in its North American portfolio.
Taking the lead on all aspects of the hotel’s culinary experiences is Chef Carmen Gianna Piazza, who learned how to cook from her grandfather while growing up in Italy, later studying the culinary arts. Her grandfather owned a small pastry shop, and she followed in her family’s footsteps, opening and operating her own restaurant for four years before coming to the Washington, D.C. area.
The Syrah Restaurant, the hotel’s dining room, and the adjacent Cosmopolitan Lounge have both been very popular with hotel guests and locals alike. Chef Piazza continually modifies the menu so regular guests will always have something new to try. Some specials have included Italian-inspired selections such as homemade pasta, her family recipe for veal ravioli, and seafood risotto featuring crab, shrimp, and saffron.
“I like to take traditional dishes and give them a contemporary twist,” says Piazza. “Our recent high rating with Starwood continually challenges us to raise the bar in all aspects of our service, from tastes and textures to locally sourced ingredients and presentation.”
In the past 10 years, she has served as an executive chef and a restaurant consultant specializing in Italian menu development for a list of well-known restaurants in the D.C. area, and has become even more popular since working for Starwood branded hotels. Piazza began with the brand at the Sheraton Tysons Hotel, in charge of banquets and restaurant for almost three years before being promoted to executive chef at the Sheraton Reston Hotel where she has been working since 2012.
Piazza’s expertise and signature dishes are also seen in the hundreds of meetings and events held in the 20,000 square feet of function space the hotel holds. “We have many of our meeting planners and those hosting social gatherings come back to us year after year because of Chef Carmen’s special touches and attention to detail,” says Tim Bailey, the hotel’s general manager. “She literally delivers,” adds Bailey with a chuckle, referring to the fact that the hotel now offers off-premises catering at local venues and the many corporate offices that surround the hotel.