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La Toque at the 180-room Westin Verasa Napa Names New Sommelier Team

Richard Matuszczak Appointed as Lead Sommelier
and Zoe Hankins as Assistant Sommelier


NAPA, Calif. (April 16, 2013) – Ken Frank, executive chef and owner of La Toque restaurant, located on the bank of the Napa River in Napa’s vibrant downtown, is pleased to announce the appointments of Richard Matuszczak as lead sommelier and Zoe Hankins as assistant sommelier at the Michelin-starred restaurant.

“I am thrilled to have both Richard and Zoe as part of our team at La Toque,” said Frank.  “An exceptional wine program is an integral part of our guest experience.  I am confident that the new team’s exemplary knowledge and passion will take our wine program to even greater heights of excellence.”

Overseeing La Toque’s 1,700-label wine list and cellar, Matuszczak brings a diverse background in the hospitality industry to his position as lead sommelier.  A Chicago native, Matuszczak moved to the Bay Area, and began cooking for the Hyatt San Jose, which set in motion his pursuit of a degree in food services and restaurant management.  He later held both customer service and front desk positions while returning to school to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finishing his seven-year tenure with Hyatt in the executive offices.

In 1995, while studying for a master’s degree at San Jose State University, he had the opportunity to assist with opening Restaurant Sent Sovi in Saratoga, CA with Chef David Kinch.  Kinch’s patience, knowledge and ability to convey information was an eye-opening experience for Matuszczak and renewed his interest in pursuing a career in fine dining.

Matuszczak went on to work on the opening teams for several restaurants, including the much anticipated Plumed Horse re-opening.  During this time Matuszczak caught the wine bug and began to shift his attention to all things viticulture.  In 2005, Matuszczak began the quest for his Introductory Sommelier credential with the Court of Master Sommeliers.  That led to a Certified Sommelier pin in 2006 and finally the Advanced Sommelier credential in 2012.  Along the way, he sat for and passed the WSET Certified Advanced exam and the Society of Wine Educators Certified Specialist of Wine and Certified Specialist of Spirits exams.  Matuszczak was most recently at Paon Restaurant & Wine Bar, located in San Diego’s North County, while also working with other sommeliers and spending time with family.

Hankins is a Napa Valley native and joined the La Toque Restaurant team as a hostess.  Under the direction of Chef Frank, she discovered her passion for food and wine as her position progressed at the restaurant.  Hankins has since become a certified sommelier, and continues to study under several sommeliers in the Napa Valley and San Francisco Bay Area in preparation for her Advanced Sommelier Exam.

La Toque’s highly regarded wine program is a recipient of Wine Spectator’s Best of ‘Award of Excellence’.  Matuszczak and Chef Frank plan to expand La Toque’s cellar to 1,900 selections, focusing on additional offerings of Alsatian and Spanish wines as well as California Pinot Noirs.

La Toque is located at 1314 McKinstry Street in Napa at The Westin Verasa, and offers complimentary valet parking with dinner.  For more information, please visit latoque.com or call (707) 257-5157.

About The Westin Verasa Napa & La Toque
Ideally located in downtown Napa, The Westin Verasa Napa features 180 rooms and the full suite of Westin signature amenities and services designed to inspire wellbeing.  The Westin Verasa Napa is positioned on the bank of the Napa River and across the street from the Napa Valley Wine Train.  Additionally, The Westin Verasa Napa is adjacent to the Oxbow Public Market, a short stroll from the heart of Napa’s vibrant downtown retail and dining district, blocks from the famed Silverado Trail, and within walking distance of 15 of the Valley’s tasting rooms.

All guest rooms and suites feature a modern, residential design accented by a soothing, neutral color palate, sleek custom furnishings and signature Westin amenities such as the Heavenly BedÒ featuring lush sheets, down cushioning and a patented pillow-top mattress that cradles and contours to the body for complete comfort.  Another industry first, the Heavenly BathÒ, creates an invigorating spa-like experience, enhanced by the brand’s Heavenly Shower®, Heavenly® Robe and exclusive White Tea Aloe bath amenities.  In-room, high-speed Internet access and an ergonomic work space offer travelers convenience and productivity in a tranquil setting.

Under the direction of Executive Chef Ken Frank, The Westin Verasa Napa provides guests with an exceptional culinary experience in the hotel’s award-winning, Michelin-starred restaurant, La Toque, and in the more casual BANK Café and Bar.  Chef Frank is passionate about drawing upon the region’s bounty of seasonal, fresh produce and organic meats from local farmers and purveyors, creating simple, contemporary menus that showcase his personal approach to classical French cuisine.

About Westin Hotels & Resorts:
Westin Hotels & Resorts makes the healthiest choices irresistibly appealing, so guests leave feeling better than when they arrived.  With more than 180 hotels and resorts in over 36 countries and territories, Westin is owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Starwood Hotels is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,051 properties in 100 countries and territories, with 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft®, and Element SM.  The company boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates.  Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com
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Contact:

Lauren Englehardt
Lauren@glodownead.com
Erica Bureau
Erica@glodownead.com
Brianna Denn
Brianna@glodownead.com
Natalie Cairo
Natalie@glodownead.com
at Glodow Nead Communications
(415) 394-6500

 


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Also See: Intrawest Preparing The Westin Verasa for Opening; Napa's First Condo Hotel Will be the Fifth Westin Property Managed by Intrawest / June 2008

Chef Ken Frank to Relocate His La Toque Restaurant in Rutherford, California to the The Westin Verasa, Napa / March 2008

Starwood Hotels and Intrawest Planning the Westin Verasa Napa, a 160-unit Condominium Hotel located in Downtown Napa, California; The Hotel Will be Managed by Intrawest's Hospitality Management Division / August 2006
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