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Jesse Souza Appointed Executive Chef of LaPlaya
Beach & Golf Resort, Naples, Florida

NAPLES, Fla. – Sept. 3, 2008 – Appointed executive chef of LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort, Jesse Souza provides an adventure for tempted taste buds with exotic flair at BALEENnaples. Bringing an abundance of experience and expertise to the table and kitchen, Souza offers brilliant epicurean creations for those guests longing for an escape from the ordinary. 

As executive chef of the whimsical monkey-themed BALEENnaples, Souza oversees culinary programs at the resort and utilizes his depth of knowledge and creativity to develop an eclectic menu. Providing a Gulf Coast twist to traditional favorites, the menu offers visitors palate-pleasing options for each of the restaurant’s three daily seatings of breakfast, lunch and dinner. With decadent dining spilling out through grand doors to a terrace with tables overlooking the sweeping beach, BALEENnaples is an ideal locale for casual oceanfront dining.

“A good chef must be diverse in flavor profile and presentation while preserving the classic foundations of cuisine,” Souza said.  “My goal is to meet and exceed our guests’ expectations by combining the stimulation and excitement of our new menus with the epicurean excellence and first-class service that visitors have come to expect from BALEENnaples.” 

Jesse Souza was raised in Maine and began his culinary career at age 18 at the Asticou Inn, a seaside resort in Maine. In 1995, Souza joined Claremont Resort & Spa in Berkeley, Calif. where he worked for six years in various chef roles including Executive Sous Chef. Relocating to Florida in 2002, he worked at the Noble House resort Little Palm Island Resort & Spa under renowned chef Adam Votaw. In 2003, Miami chef Robbin Haas recruited both Votaw and Souza to launch Chispa restaurant in Miami, Fla. where they developed the Nouveau Latin Cuisine the brand successfully became known for.

In 2005, Souza returned to his native New England and worked closely with the farmers, fishermen and artisans of the region while at Havana Restaurant and Natasha’s, two prominent restaurants in Maine. Returning to Noble House in 2007, Souza took the lead at BALEENmiami at The Grove Isle Hotel & Spa, then made the move this summer to BALEENnaples at LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort.  

Awarded “Most Excellent Resort” for 2008 in the United States and Canada by Conde? Nast Johansens and capturing a spot on the Great Hotels ranking of Travel + Leisure, the stylishly simple escape also features a sweeping soft white beach with private Beach Butlers, crisp white cabanas along a cascading falls pool, exotic SpaTerre and stunning sunsets. 

For more information, call LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort at (239) 597-3123 or visit


Carol Baetzel, Tel: (602) 931-5422

Also See: The St. Joe Company Signs Noble House Hotels & Resorts to Manage the WaterColor Inn and Resort, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida / November 2007
Adam Votaw Appointed Executive Chef of LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort, Naples, Florida / September 2007


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