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Luis Bruno Appointed Director of Culinary Development at the Hilton Jackson, Mississippi;
Formerly the Executive Chef at the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion
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JACKSON, MS (April 1, 2009) – The Hilton Jackson, MS – long synonymous with Southern hospitality and charm and ranked among the top Hilton hotels in the U.S. for overall guest experience and customer service – has named Chef Luis Bruno as its new Director of Culinary Development. The appointment of Luis (pronounced “Loo-ey”), former Executive Chef for two Mississippi Governors’ administrations, comes as the Hilton Jackson nears completion of a six million dollar transformation and shift in lifestyle positioning to enhance its food and beverage under a new health and wellness umbrella. 

According to studies by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and several other organizations, the State of Mississippi was the nation’s fattest state in 2008. 

That’s why good health is most important to Luis, age 39, and his conviction is all about helping people – especially Mississippi’s children – to eat correctly. His inspirational story is one of conquering great challenges, facing diabetes and other serious health conditions. His toughest – to lose weight or face a painful, uncertain but certainly shortened life – includes going on a liquid diet of 850 calories a day and losing and maintaining a non-surgical weight loss of 200 pounds through exercise and healthful eating. 

“I am excited about my new position with the Hilton Jackson and the model I will create to help and motivate people to learn about good nutrition and eating healthy foods,” said Luis. “Staying healthy is among my top priorities, along with continuing my efforts to help Mississippi’s children lose weight.” 

Highlights of Luis’ health and wellness initiatives for all four of the Hilton Jackson’s recently refurbished and award-winning restaurants (Huntingtons Grille, Wellingtons, Fitzgeralds and poolside dining) include nutritious food – fresh from farm to table – wine dinners and price fixe early dining menus at Huntingtons, the new poolside Luis’ Havana Cabana, in-room dining geared toward women travelers, and new healthy menus for children. Luis will also play an integral role in the hotel’s world class banquet and event offerings, which have also recently undergone significant renovations.

“Luis brings his passion for healthy eating and wellness, comfort and fun, along with powerful life experience to the Hilton Jackson and Mississippi,” said Larry Hollingsworth, General Manager of the hotel. “He personifies the shift in lifestyle positioning that the hotel is taking – a more everyday, healthful, family-friendly approach to food and beverage.”

About Chef Luis Bruno 

Luis hails from Bronx, NY and as a young boy, worked in his family’s deli/pizzeria in upstate New York. In 1993, he moved to Florida to earn a degree in culinary arts, where he met his wife, Kathleen. In 1996, he relocated to his wife’s hometown of Jackson, MS, and was appointed Executive Chef at the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion during the Kirk Fordice Administration. There, he prepared fabulous fare for governors, kings, foreign dignitaries and international celebrities. In 2001, Luis left the Governor’s Mansion to open his dream restaurant, the award-winning Bruno’s Eclectic Cuisine with the motto, “A Passion for Food and Fun” and known for its colorful, diverse menu of Spanish and Caribbean-inspired cuisine, festive design and celebratory atmosphere. 

Not all that long ago, Luis weighed 400 pounds, and personal health issues, including uncontrolled diabetes, forced him to close his restaurant in 2003 when his doctor gave him just five years to live. But just one year later and half his size, he had turned his life around and his weight-loss efforts melded perfectly with incumbent Governor Haley Barbour’s dedication to the health of the people of Mississippi. Barbour asked a healthy, slim Bruno to return as executive chef at the Governor’s Mansion, where he remained until his appointment with the Hilton Jackson. Today, in addition to his passion for good health and wellness, Luis enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter.

Luis is a frequent motivational speaker about how he succeeded losing weight and saving his life. His cookbook, “Don’t Feel Guilty, Eat It!” is a collection of his favorite recipes along with healthful ingredient alternatives and cooking tips. His new line of spices, Bruno’s Eclectic Spices, are featured in many of his uniquely delicious dishes. And another exciting collaboration is with Mississippi’s premier designer glass company, Pearl River Glass, to create plateware with style and elegance. A portion of all proceeds goes to the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi. For additional information, visit brunoseclectic.com. 

About Hilton Jackson’s Food & Beverage 

The Hilton Jackson’s award-winning restaurants include:

  • Wellingtons offers some of the area’s most legendary buffets and boasts a newly renovated entry, marble floors, curved glass tiled wall, carpets and refinished tabletops. There is also a new menu that included a Sunday Jazz Brunch featuring local jazz artists. 
  • Fitzgeralds features new carpet, furniture and a granite-topped bar. There is live entertainment nightly by local and regional musicians. In addition to handcrafted cocktails and premium liquors, it serves breakfast and continuous dining from 11:00 a.m. on. 
  • Huntingtons Grille, with fine dining and one of the region’s most extensive wine lists, offers a new “Sipping and Dining” menu on its refurbished patio with live music nightly. The private Oak Room has been renovated to feature a Chef’s Table for smaller parties and meetings, with up-to-date communication and presentation equipment, a personal wait staff and fireplace. 
  • The new Luis’ Havana Cabana overlooks the courtyard swimming pool area and surrounding grounds, which now contain a unique fire and water sculpture treatment on the patio and private resort-like cabanas. Guests enjoy nutritious cuisine and beverages poolside.
For hotel reservations, contact the hotel directly at 601-957-2800, or toll-free at 888-263-0524 or 800-HILTONS, or visit www.Jackson.Hilton.com . 
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Contact:

Leora Halpern Lanz
516-248-8828, x278 

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Also See: HRI Properties Obtains City of Meridian, Mississippi Guarantee of $14 million of $55 million Project to Convert the Historic Threefoot Building into a 125 room Courtyard by Marriott / March 2009
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