Le Méridien Names Michael McDonald Culinary Director and Executive Chef
Oakbrook Center, located at 2100 Spring Road in Oak Brook, Illinois, announced the appointment of award-winning chef Michael McDonald as culinary director and executive chef. With two decades of experience spanning two countries and many of America’s largest restaurant markets before culminating in his native Chicagoland, Chef McDonald will bring his seasonal culinary style to the hotel’s culinary operation, including authentic Spanish Tapas restaurant El Tapeo. Chef McDonald most recently served as executive chef at Zed451 in Chicago.
He previously served as executive chef at LuxBar in Chicago, achieving success creating and implementing its farm-to-table menu and approach. In his four years of experience as executive chef at Chicago’s One Sixty Blue, his complete menu overhaul earned the restaurant three stars by the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times.
“I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity to bring my experience and passion to Le Méridien Chicago—Oakbrook Center,” Chef McDonald says. “My culinary approach involves tremendous respect for the ingredients I am using, striving to serve guests amazing flavors at their prime, and the vision of the team here aligns greatly with this goal. I look forward to working with this amazing team and working with the menu at El Tapeo to keep the forward-thinking vision of the restaurant in tact while putting my spin on the flavors and ingredients to exceed our valued customers’ expectations.”
Chef McDonald’s has honed his craft and learned from some of the best names in the culinary industry, working under acclaimed Chefs Jean Joho, Nobu Matsuhisa, Gray Kunz, and the late Charlie Trotter. As an executive chef, he has successfully opened six restaurants to date over his two-decade career and continues to earn accolades as executive chef and culinary manager.Prior to his return to Chicago, Chef McDonald served as executive chef for the opening of Restaurant Charlie, collaborating with Charlie Trotter, at the Palazzo hotel in Las Vegas, and brought his skills south of the border at Trotter’s Restaurant C. in Los Cabos, Mexico. After working under Chef Gray Kunz as executive sous chef at Café Gray in New York City, Chef McDonald oversaw the culinary division as executive chef at the Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa in Sonoma, California. He served as executive chef for the opening of the Shore Club Hotel in Miami, working collaboratively with Chef Nobu Matsuhisa on the opening of the hotel’s four upscale restaurants. Chef McDonald’s experience also includes roles as executive sous chef at the Four Seasons New York, sous chef at Lespinasse in Washington, D.C., chef de cuisine under Chef Jean Joho at Everest in Chicago, and sous chef at Four Seasons Houston Center in Houston.