Creating meals and working in kitchens has been a part of his life since he was 8 years old, when he made pasta from scratch with his grandmother. He began working in professional kitchens as a dishwasher when he was 14 and has since worked his way up in the restaurant industry. Along the way, Graffeo graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and has held positions at several Marriott properties in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Phoenix, Arizona; and most recently at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel.
“From day one, Chef Joe has infused his creativity and cutting-edge ideas into every aspect of his dishes, elevating offerings across our food and beverage outlets and dazzling customers with elaborate presentations and exciting flavor profiles,” says Bernard Hamburger, director of food and beverage at Marriott Marquis Houston. “Chef Joe’s dedication to excellence will help us emerge as a leader in an already outstanding foodie destination.” He looks to have the new executive chef lead and inspire the hotel’s food and beverage team to create distinctive culinary experiences for locals, leisure guests, and group business.
Chef Graffeo’s culinary expertise and programming can be enjoyed at all the hotel’s Texas-inspired eateries including:
- Biggio’s, the signature Texas-inspired restaurant and sports bar has a lively, casual atmosphere with more than 30 screens for catching sporting events, and dishes up “big dogs” and street tacos featuring chicken tinga, chipotle bison, and habanero mango lobster
- Cueva, the hotel’s lobby space features one of the city’s premier wine and cocktail bars, with more than 200 wines, a cocktail menu, and Mediterranean-style tapas
- Texas T, an intimate coffee house where you can find artisanal coffee, tea, and pastries
- Walker Street Kitchen, a chic dining room that offers locally sourced, farm-to-table homestyle breakfasts, brunches, and lunches with a Gulf Coast-style twist
- High Dive rooftop, an eatery that dishes up New American fare and poolside snacks (think banh mi sandwiches and totchos) with a serving of its panoramic views and Instagram-worthy cocktails that guest can sip while floating down the world’s largest Texas-shaped rooftop lazy river
Graffeo will also oversee in-room dining, the banquet kitchen for the 1,000-room hotel, and its 52 event rooms, including the property’s M Club.
“I have never had a taste for the ordinary,” says Graffeo. “I enjoy pushing culinary boundaries and exploring the endless possibilities of gastronomy, leaving a lasting impression on every palate.”