Hotel Cerro, San Luis Obispo’s premier luxury hotel, is pleased to announce the appointment of Chef Derek Brooks as its new executive chef. Bringing nearly two decades of upscale restaurant and luxury hotel experience to Hotel Cerro’s signature restaurant, Brasserie SLO, Chef Brooks looks forward to blending California Coastal Cuisine with French Brasserie influences.
Born in Chicago and a graduate of the Cooking & Hospitality Institute of Chicago, Chef Brooks has traveled the country and Europe to expand his culinary knowledge and experience.
Beginning his professional career at the Chicago Ritz Carlton working under James Beard Award-winning Chef Sarah Stegner, Chef Brooks followed Stegner to her acclaimed Prairie Grass Café, which he helped open. He then traveled to the Washington D.C. area where he learned about high concept international fusion cuisine at the award-winning Farrah Oliva restaurant. Heading west, Chef Brooks gained valuable luxury hotel experience as the Chef de Cuisine at the bespoke Arrabelle resort in Vail, Colorado, with a focus on traditional French Brasserie fare.
At the celebrated Resort at Pelican Hill, located in Newport Beach, California, Chef Brooks took on the position of sous chef at the resort’s fine dining room Andrea. It was there that he expanded his knowledge of traditional Italian cuisine under the guidance of renowned three-star Michelin Chef Gianluca Re Fraschini. He managed multiple culinary aspects at the luxury resort and was named Executive Chef of the Pelican Grill where he was able to take full advantage of locally grown seasonal produce from Irvine Ranch.
Equipped with broad experience in fine dining, hospitality, and kitchen management, Chef Brooks traveled to Florida to open the world-famous, Baz Luhrmann-designed Faena Hotel in Miami, known for its “theatrical dining” concept.
Most recently, Chef Brooks was the Executive Chef and Director of Food & Wine for the iconic, historical Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. It was there, at Tennessee’s only Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond Hotel, that Chef Brooks’ deep appreciation for farm to table cuisine was fully developed, while working with the hotel’s private farm and cattle ranch.
Now at Hotel Cerro, Chef Brooks is embracing all that San Luis Obispo has to offer.
“I am excited to be working on the central coast with its abundance of artisanal purveyors, specialty farms, and fresh seafood,” said Chef Brooks. “The possibilities are so great here – from Brasserie SLO’s well equipped European-style kitchen to the hotel’s dedicated vegetable and herb garden – if I can’t grow it myself, I plan to go straight to local farmers to source the freshest ingredients.”