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Brent Hockenberry was recently hired as executive chef for the Omaha Marriott Downtown.
1. What are you looking forward to the most in your new role as executive chef for the Omaha Marriott Downtown?
I am most excited about being the newest product in an already expanding market. We have the opportunity to positively affect the way hotel food and beverage is done in this city. I am confident that our team will raise the bar for creating a truly unique and memorable experience for each of our guests.
2. How do you think past experiences have prepared you for this role?
The Omaha Marriott Downtown opening will be the fifth hotel opening that I have been a part of. I believe having an understanding of how these openings progress successfully will bring helpful insight to our team.
3. How did you get into the industry?
I was in school for psychology at the time a commercial for Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute popped up on the TV. I drove an hour from school to Orlando, Fla., toured the site and was enrolled the following semester. I joined a hotel group right out of culinary school and fell in love with the opportunities to affect countless people from all different walks of life through cuisine.
4. What are you hoping to achieve in your new role?
My main goal is to change the misconception that hotel food cannot be on par with the higher-end restaurant experiences in the city. We will also be implementing some new concepts in the banquet world to bring in more of a restaurant experience.
5. What do you enjoy most about the industry?
I love that it is always changing. My days, although structured, are never quite the same. I can be working on a 10-course wine dinner one moment and then, later in the day, working with an event planner to bring an international themed reception to life. Also, the hotel industry allows me to connect with my guests more personally. I love having the ability to be a part of a lifelong memory.