Sheraton Names Kilian Werner Executive Chef
NEW ORLEANS (press release)— The Sheraton New Orleans Hotel has hired new leaders to run its food and beverage program. Chef Kilian Werner joins the hotel as the new executive chef. Kilian brings 17 years of culinary experience with Marriott International to his new role overseeing multiple dining outlets as well as banquets and catering at the Sheraton.
Also joining this new leadership team as executive sous chef is Spiros Dimitriou, a longtime fixture at the New Orleans Marriott. Other new additions to the team are Reginald Jack, who joins as food and beverage director from the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, and Jason Gunn as sous chef for the Pelican Bar, a favorite gathering spot located in the hotel’s atrium lobby.
Kilian has spent his entire career with Marriott International, including graduating from a three-year professional training program at the Frankfurt Marriott Hotel in his native Germany. His first position was as junior sous chef at the Manchester Airport Marriott Hotel in England. From there, he moved to Dubai to become sous chef at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel where he was promoted to chef de cuisine. From the Middle East, Kilian next headed to the Caribbean as executive sous chef for the Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and later as executive sous chef at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach House.
“Chef’s nearly 20-year history with Marriott, as well as his strong culinary and leadership skills are exactly what we were looking for to provide our guests with a completely new food and beverage experience at the Sheraton New Orleans,” said Jim Cook, general manager, Sheraton New Orleans Hotel.
The executive chef arrived in New Orleans just three days before Mardi Gras, one of the hotel’s busiest times of the year, which was quickly followed by the Spring festival season including New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for which the Sheraton serves as the headquarter hotel.
Despite a hectic work schedule of revamping processes, developing new menus and hiring staff, Kilian has managed to immerse himself in the flavors of the city.
“This is a culinary city, which is always exciting,” he said. “You can literally dine at a different restaurant every night in New Orleans and maybe never need to start over.”
Alligator sausage has quickly become one of his favorite foods, not surprisingly for the chef who grew up as a connoisseur of wurst (German sausage). Expect to see alligator options added to Sheraton menus. He’s been pleasantly surprised by the city’s diverse Vietnamese and other Asian food offerings. Oysters are another of his favorite foods, and he was excited to finally have an original New Orleans beignet. The influence of all these foods is likely to find its way into his kitchen.
The chef has also discovered many similarities between German and New Orleans foods, including King Cakes.
“I had heard about King Cake but had never tried one. It’s basically the same as yeast and sugar bread that you find in Cologne during Carnival season,” he said.
For now, Kilian is starting at the beginning and focusing on breakfast. He believes it’s important to offer guests, whether transient or group, expanded breakfast options to start their day. By year’s end, he also plans to reopen the pastry kitchen, which closed during the pandemic lockdown.