The Phoenician’s culinary team represents decades of experience with an unsurpassed love of food, dining and the pleasures of the table. From developing innovative menus for each of the resort’s restaurants to overseeing a large staff of dedicated professionals, these highly trained and exceptionally skilled culinary artisans bring taste and style to every meal served.
Richard Boyer, Executive Chef
Experienced in the award-winning culinary operations of Starwood’s Luxury Collection property, Boyer spent part of his early career working with Chef Alessandro Stratta at its former Five Diamond modern French restaurant, Mary Elaine’s.
Prior to joining the AAA Five Diamond resort, Boyer served as culinary director and executive chef for the Forbes Five-Star/AAA Five Diamond resort, The American Club at Destination Kohler in Kohler, Wis. While there, he led a team of 120 associates, overseeing its 12 venues as well as its banquet operations and production and demonstration kitchens. His 22-year career has also included the position of chef de cuisine for both 27 Ocean Blue at the Five-Star Boca Raton Resort and Club; and Wright’s at the Arizona Biltmore.
A member of The American Culinary Federation and the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, Boyer received his degree from the New England Culinary Institute. Early in 2014, he was the guest chef for the Champions Dinner at the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.
Lee Hillson, Executive Sous Chef
Celebrated for his originality and vision, Lee Hillson joined the AAA Five-Diamond Phoenician in September 2012 as executive sous chef. In this role, he assists in directing a culinary staff of more than 150 across nine kitchens, including all resort restaurants, while contributing to menu creation and preparation. He also provides support for in-room dining, banquet, pastry, bakeshop, butcher shop, pasta shop and garde manger operations.
Hillson previously served as executive chef for the renowned T. Cook’s at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix, during which he gained national acclaim for his battle with Iron Chef Cat Cora on the blockbuster Food Network show, Iron Chef America. Also known for his innovation in designing exceptional house-made products while maintaining a commitment to sustainability, he was tapped by British Airways to create a First Class menu for Phoenix to London flights.
Jacques Qualin, Chef de Cuisine – J&G Steakhouse
Accomplished chef Jacques Qualin first teamed with world-renowned chef and businessman Jean-Georges Vongerichten in 1998 to become First Sous Chef at the now legendary Jean Georges. A decade later, the dazzling duo joined together once more for the highly anticipated J&G Steakhouse in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Acclaimed as a “master of his art,” Qualin hails from the Franche-Comté region of France, a verdant area near the Jura Mountains. Qualin was soon lured to the bright lights of Paris where he studied under Michelin-rated chef Michel de Matteis before landing a prestigious post at the three-star Restaurant Taillevent, described by The New York Times as, “the best in Paris, if not all of France.”
Qualin’s considerable culinary talent captured the attention of Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who hired him to serve as First Sous-chef at Vongerichten’s Mobil Five-Star/AAA Five Diamond Jean Georges Restaurant, the restaurant that launched Vongerichten’s growing empire.
Roy Pell, Executive Pastry Chef
As Executive Pastry Chef for The Phoenician, he is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Pastry Department, including training and development and all bread, bakery and dessert products for the resort’s nine food outlets and banquets. Pell is a graduate of Westminster Catering College in London. He brings over 15 years of experience in the pastry/culinary field to his position, most recently with nine years at Ritz-Carlton properties in San Francisco, St. Louis and Phoenix. You can see some of Chef Pell’s culinary creations throughout the resort for the holidays, including our larger-than-life gingerbread house displays.
Patrick Gaudet, Banquet Chef
Patrick Gaudet is responsible for all banquet and catering events at The Phoenician, tailoring each menu to ensure they meet the clients’ individual expectations. Overseeing a staff of 25, he also designs customized cooking classes for in-house groups.
Professionally trained in his home country of Canada, he acquired his previous experience at some of the Valley’s most recognized properties. Prior to joining the AAA Five Diamond resort in October 2012, Gaudet served as the Chef Tournant at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, where he was involved in nearly all aspects of the culinary operations for Arizona’s largest hotel. He also held the position of Sous Chef at the property’s District American Kitchen and Wine Bar, which features its own herb garden, artisan products and sustainably farmed produce from local growers.
William Cleary, Chef de Cuisine
William Cleary joined The Phoenician in June 2015. In his current role as Chef de Cuisine, he oversees the daily operations for Relish Burger Bistro and the Oasis Grill, focusing on menu creation and preparation with an emphasis on product quality.
Prior to joining the AAA Five Diamond resort, Chef Cleary spent five years at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina, where he most recently served as Sous Chef at Vue 1913. While there, he was responsible for implementing seasonal, farm fresh menus, playing an instrumental role in the re-branding of the fine dining restaurant as an American Brassiere.
Chef Cleary received his education in Culinary Arts and Hospitality in Asheville.
Greg Tresner, Master Sommelier
Greg Tresner joined the Phoenician in 1998 after 15 years in the restaurant industry. He earned the distinction of becoming Arizona’s first-ever Master Sommelier by the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers, the hospitality trade’s highest recognition of wine, liquor and beverage service professionals. Tresner continues to foster wine service and education throughout the AAA Five Diamond resort. He has guided numerous associates in achieving Sommelier status from the Court of Master Sommeliers, in addition to serving as a Court instructor.
Tresner presides over The Phoenician’s two wine cellars, whose extraordinary selection of vintages has earned international recognition.