El Paso, Texas — December 11, 2019 — Hersha Hospitality Management (HHM) announced Andrés Padilla has been named executive chef of The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park.  Chef Padilla will oversee all food and beverage experiences for the 130-room property, including two restaurants & bars, in-room dining and private events. Influenced by Padilla’s travels throughout Mexico, Ámbar Restaurante will serve wood-fired, modern Mexican cuisine. Offering panoramic views of Mexico, New Mexico and El Paso, La Perla is an exclusive rooftop dining and cocktail venue that will feature seafood-driven plates.  Set to open in early 2020, the beautifully restored 19-floor boutique hotel dates back to the 1930s, boasting a rich history tied into the destination of El Paso, Texas.  The hotel is owned by Mills Plaza Properties II LP, a Paul Foster company.

“We knew this historic building would require an iconic chef, and we hired Chef Padilla not only for his notable background, but for his culinary vision and ingredient-driven thoughtfulness,” said The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park’s General Manager Wolfgang Jonas.

Padilla brings 15 years of culinary expertise to The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park and an extensive knowledge of the nuances of regional Mexican cuisine as a result of his travels and teaching experiences. His culinary philosophy is guided by the desire to educate his guests about sustainable sourcing, history and heritage through food. The menu for Ámbar will be comprised of centuries-old Mexican recipes with a regionally driven twist and will make a conscious effort to support the boutique, family-run farms and makers in Mexico.

“I often hear people say things like corn is corn, “said Chef Padilla. “It’s not. As consumers, we have to be more curious about the source of our food. There are farmers who have been producing one crop for multiple generations, and it’s our duty as chefs to help them continue to produce for generations to come. It’s not only about supporting their art form, but it’s also about supporting the integrity of our food for future generations.”

Hailing from Chicago, Padilla boasts an impressive culinary pedigree with notable highlights including his role as culinary director for Frontera Restaurants, celebrated Chef Rick Bayless’ culinary group. In this role, he held positions as chef de cuisine at popular Chicago outposts including Leña Brava, Cruz Blanca, and Topolobampo.  Prior to that, he worked at Chicago’s De la Costa for Chef Douglas Rodriguez and as sous chef at Scottsdale, Ariz. concepts Fiamma and Asia de Cuba.

In addition to various positions in celebrated kitchens, Padilla has also been the recipient of many notable culinary awards throughout his career. While at Topolobampo, he received and maintained a Michelin Star (2011); was nominated for Best Chef de Cuisine (2013) and received the Chicago Tribune’s Dining Award (2015).  In 2016, he was awarded the Instituto del Progresso Latino Alta Cocina Award and in 2017, Topolobampo was the winner of the James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant.

Chef Padilla received a bachelor’s degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management from New Mexico State University and an associate’s degree in Culinary Arts from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute.