Hotel Granduca Austin Names New Executive Chef
Hotel Granduca Austin, the Tuscan-inspired boutique hotel and member of The Leading Hotels of the World, recently announced the launch of its new food and beverage program, helmed by newly appointed Executive Chef Will Packwood. The hotel opened in the Westlake area of Austin, TX, in November 2015.
Named Food + Wine’s Best New Chef in 2001, and having been recognized in publications, including Bon Appetit, Delta Sky Magazine, Texas Monthly, and more, Packwood boasts more than three decades experience. In his role at Hotel Granduca Austin he will oversee Visconti Ristorante & Bar, the hotel’s 70-seat restaurant, as well as all banquet food production. Most recently, Packwood, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, worked as private chef and consultant at La Tavola in Austin, where he designed and taught recreational and professional cooking classes, created and personalized menus for clients, and provided operational and creative consulting to various operating restaurants. Prior to that, he worked as a culinary, baking, and wine instructor at the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Austin.
“At Hotel Granduca and Visconti Ristorante & Bar, we are always searching for individuals who exhibit outstanding leadership qualities, as we are committed to providing an extraordinary guest experience,” says Larry Bundy, general manager of the hotel. “Mr. Packwood is a great asset to the hotel and Visconti Bar & Ristorante and we are thrilled to have him."
Soon after appointing Packwood, Hotel Granduca Austin rolled out new food and beverage programming for the restaurant, bar, and in-room dining designed by the executive chef.
“As a chef of Italian cuisine, I believe you have to fully understand the culture, appreciate the ingredients, combinations, and even the people behind that culture,” Packwood says. “My goal in developing this new food and beverage program is to showcase my experiences, as well as Italy’s passion for food and dining.”
Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily and brunch on Sundays, Visconti Ristorante & Bar’s new menus emphasize traditional Italian cuisine with an innovative twist:
- Breakfast: Breakfast showcases Italian-inspired dishes, such as Eggs Bruschetta, featuring grilled focaccia topped with scrambled eggs, roasted tomatoes, and prosciutto; Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes topped with macerated raspberries and creme fraiche; and Il Benedetto, a dish made of poached eggs, asparagus, Italian ham, and hollandaise, all atop a delicious crostini. The breakfast menu will also include the classics—steak and eggs, pancakes, and Belgian-style waffles, as well as juices, smoothies, and pastries.
- Lunch: This newly revamped menu showcases craveable and quick lunch fare, including pizzas, like the Napoli, a pizza made with tomato, mozzarella, Gaeta olives, capers, anchovies, and oregano; a Baby Spinach-Grilled Tenderloin salad; and entrees, including Grilled Beef and Pork Spiedini, sandwiches, pastas, and more.
- Dinner: Visconti’s new dinner menu features three sections: Starters, Pastas & Risottos, and Entrees. Starters include Tuna Crudo with roasted red pepper, capers, salsa verde, garlic emulsion, and mint and a Carpaccio paired with pickled fresno and artichokes, arugula, tonnato, and black pepper oil. Saffron-Ricotta Gnocchi with a Ragu alla Bolognese and Parmigiano Reggiano, and Roasted Corn-Zucchini Risotto topped with toasted cornbread crumbs, stracchino, and basil, can be found on the Pastas & Risottos menu. Entrees showcase dishes from light to hearty, including Branzino with broccoli rabe, roasted potatoes and tomato, and preserved lemon relish, and a Trio of Grilled Pork featuring pork tenderloin, belly, luganega, sweet corn polenta figs, arugula, and herb oil.
In addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Packwood and Hotel Granduca created new bar, dessert, and in-room dining menus.