Appointments & Promotions

Hotel Valley Ho Welcomes New Executive Chef

Russell LaCasce to Lead All Culinary Operations at This Downtown Scottsdale Icon

SCOTTSDALE, AZ. December 20, 2016 – The iconic Hotel Valley Ho in Downtown Scottsdale welcomes Russell LaCasce as its new executive chef. He joins the team after serving as the executive sous chef at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa, and begins his new role at Hotel Valley Ho on January 2, 2017.

Russell began his culinary career in Charleston, South Carolina as a dishwasher, and quickly found a passion for food and a love for the kitchen. He then spent time learning the service side of restaurants in Park City, Utah, before moving to Scottsdale in 2006. His professional training includes a Culinary Arts Degree from the Arizona Culinary Institute and 10 years working under some of the best chefs in Arizona.

At T. Cook’s at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix, he worked with Chef Lee Hillson, eventually rising to the position of p.m. sous chef. He joined the renowned Sanctuary in 2010 as a.m. sous chef and was named executive sous chef in 2011. He worked closely with Beau MacMillan, the resort’s executive chef and star of Food Network. Russell was also awarded the Taste of Elegance 2013. He is skilled at preparing American, Asian, French and Mediterranean cuisines. His depth of knowledge, ability to craft creative menus and passion for cooking have propelled him throughout his 20-year culinary career.

As the executive chef of Hotel Valley Ho, Russell will oversee the culinary aspects of the hotel’s signature restaurant, ZuZu, as well as in-room dining, the OH Pool and OHasis Pool, banquets and catering. ZuZu is known for its seasonal American fare, locally sourced ingredients and classic cocktails. Hotel Valley Ho original opened in 1956 and underwent a complete renovation to restore its original 1950s modern architecture.

“We are delighted to have Russell as our new executive chef. His reputation for delivering creative and flavorful cuisine coupled with his ability to lead his culinary colleagues made him the perfect fit for this key position. We are very much looking forward to seeing how he influences ZuZu and all of our culinary operations,” said Ronen Aviram, the hotel’s general manager.

Hotel Valley Ho’s previous executive chef, Charles Wiley, is now the executive chef at the soon-to-open Mountain Shadows in nearby Paradise Valley. He is also the director of food and beverage for local Westroc Hospitality, which developed and manages Hotel Valley Ho, Mountain Shadows and Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa.

About Hotel Valley Ho: Hotel Valley Ho is a true icon in Downtown Scottsdale. Originally opened in 1956 and recently restored to its former splendor, this urban retreat blends mid-century style with modern amenities. Dine at ZuZu, relax at VH Spa for Vitality + Health, and unwind at two cool pools. www.HotelValleyHo.com

Coming Up In The February Online Hotel Business Review




Feature Focus
Social Media: Interacting with the Hotel Customer
Consider these astonishing numbers: 1.49 billion active monthly Facebook users. 1.1 billion active monthly YouTube users. 320 million active monthly Twitter users and nearly 400 million registered users on LinkedIn. 400 million active monthly Instagram users and 200 million active Google+ users. The power and reach of social media is an awesome force and it has transformed how hotels interact with their customers. In the past year, social media advertising spending increased 33.5% to nearly $24 billion dollars. Social networks are being utilized by hotels to reach more visitors, expand brand awareness, enhance brand reputation and to establish more direct and personal communication with their customers. Savvy hotel operators are adopting a comprehensive social media strategy, and there are several emerging trends to note. Video continues to be a powerful and influential element in social media marketing, with 70% of companies saying that it is their most effective marketing tool. Video generates a 62% higher engagement rate than photographs alone, and with new social sites like Meerkat and Periscope which offer live video streaming, those numbers will only increase. Sponsored content is another growing trend. Though advertorials have been around for decades, hotels are finding new ways to maximize the visibility of their content. Some are placing sponsored content on Facebook, or on influencer blogs. Another trend is the integration of a “Buy Now” button into social media websites. Customers will be able to make purchases without ever having to leave their favorite social sites. This development is a major convenience for customers and should also be an additional revenue source for hotels. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.