Chef Douglas Keane ’93 has been confirmed as the chef speaker for the keynote cooking demonstration at the School of Hotel Administration’s (SHA) student-run 87th Annual Hotel Ezra Cornell (HEC 87).

The co-owner and executive chef of Cyrus Restaurant, winner of two Michelin stars, will present to attendees during the weekend of April 12-15, 2012, with a culinary demonstration and discussion about service innovation in the restaurant industry. 

“You can be innovative and cheesy or innovative and productive, and the most important part of service innovation is to be productive and efficient,” says Keane.

“Keeping current is important, but at the end of the day, you have to have the basics right. A lot of what we do is make sure the butter is spreadable and the bread is warm; if you don’t have the basics down first, innovating the process will not make a difference.”

Keane, a 1993 graduate of Cornell School of Hotel Management, presented at the school in 2006 as a speaker for the popular Guest Chef Series class.

He has amassed several awards since opening Cyrus Restaurant six years ago in California's Sonoma County, including four stars from Michael Bauer at the San Francisco Chronicle and recognition as one of Gourmet magazine’s Top Fifty Restaurants, Esquire magazine’s Chef of the Year, Food and Wine magazine’s Best New Chef, and the James Beard Award for Best Chef Pacific. 

“We’re so excited to welcome back Chef Keane to our school and to include him in the HEC program,” says Lindsey Brous ’12, program director for HEC 87.

“The cooking demo is one of the most popular events, because it’s really a treat to watch a talented chef and learn how to cook impressive, delicious food.”

This year’s HEC 87 "Life Is Service Innovation" conference will celebrate future trends in hospitality and feature educational, leisure, and networking events that highlight industry advancements that exceed customers’ needs and expectations.

Other food and beverage industry leaders will join Keane in leading presentations during the weekend: Kevin Zraly, author and teacher at Windows on the World of Wine School, and Chris Loss, PhD ’06, professor and director of menu research and development at The Culinary Institute of America.

To learn more about the program of events for HEC 87 Life Is Service Innovation and to register for the conference, visit

Hotel Ezra Cornell (HEC) is an annual student-run hospitality conference that has been an 87-year tradition at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. The conference attracts hospitality industry leaders and school alumni, faculty, and students to the Cornell campus and the Statler Hotel for a weekend of networking, education, entertainment, and culinary experiences.

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