Amy Witz, Stetsons Modern Steak + Sushi’s Certified Sommelier, has worked in Chicago’s restaurant scene for over 16 years. Growing up in Edison Park, she quickly decided to start her career at the House of Cakes Bakery and realized the need to pursue the challenge of being a chef. Graduating in 2001 from Le Cordon Bleu, formally known as Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, she quickly became part of Chicago’s Restaurant Scene.
Amy has worked at top Chicago restaurants including Le Francais and Moto. While working at Hotel 71, her way of thinking changed after a quick promotion to Sous Chef. She began to think about "wine, wine, wine; distinguishing harmony amidst perfect pairings" as a top priority. Amy decided to transition to front of the house to learn the world of wine. Prior to joining Hyatt Regency Chicago, Amy assisted with the wine program at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples and held the title of Assistant Sommelier at Park Hyatt Chicago overseeing 1,500 selections and a 10,000-bottle inventory. Amy has been with the Hyatt Family since 2008 and her vast passion for wine is apparent as she continually demonstrates everlasting perfect pairing with her strong culinary background.
The Executive Chef of Hyatt Regency Chicago, Robert Lang, has made his way from his family’s restaurant kitchen in Graz, Austria, to various Alpine ski resorts and sun-drenched hostelries in tropical climates.
Rather far from his family’s restaurant kitchen in Graz, Austria, Chef Lang has found a permanent home in Chicago as the Executive Chef, in charge of a staff of 140 cooks and sous chefs at the 2,019-room Hyatt Regency Chicago. Lang is responsible for overseeing the cooking for six restaurants/lounges, as well as all banquets functions. He was honored as Global Hyatt’s Executive Chef of the Year in 2006.
Lang graduated from the hotel school Bad Gleichenbuerg in Austria. He has held several positions in countries such as Switzerland, Israel, and Germany. Lang joined Hyatt Hotels in 1979 as a Sous Chef at Hyatt Regency Chicago. Since joining Hyatt, he has also worked as the Sous Chef at Hyatt Regency Acapulco and Executive Chef at Hyatt Regency O’Hare. In 1986, Lang helped open the Hyatt Regency Waikoloa on the Big Island of Hawaii.
According to Lang, he enjoys the challenge of managing the largest Hyatt property in the world and the largest hotel in Chicago.
"You have to be a people person," said Lang. "It doesn’t matter how great of a cook you are, it’s how you manage people and how much they enjoy working for you." Lang enjoys preparing new menus and refuses to choose a favorite ethnic cuisine he enjoys to prepare the most. "I like so many," he says. "Chinese, Greek, German, Italian, Japanese -- you name it. I could never choose just one."
Roberto J. Alicea, Hyatt Regency Chicago’s Executive Sous Chef, was born to a Puerto Rican father and an Italian mother who believed Sunday dinners were a large family affair. At a young age, Chef Alicea was in the kitchen cooking for his family. Raised in Chicago, he attended Roberto Clemente High School, a tough place where he ran with the wrong crowd and frequently cut class. Fortunately, his high school offered a food course sponsored by the Hyatt Corporation, where Hyatt’s Executive Chefs taught students how to cook in a kitchen located on campus. Alicea was soon cutting class to attend the cooking courses. The chefs took a liking to him, realizing he had incredible knife skills and offered him an internship position at Hyatt Regency Chicago the summer before his sophomore year. The job changed his life, teaching him discipline and organization. Alicea returned to school that fall with a new outlook and new determination. He continued to work at Hyatt through high school.
After working at Hyatt Regency Chicago for five years, Alicea moved to Orlando, Florida and worked as a line cook at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. Taught by one of Hyatt Corporation’s most respected chefs, Kenneth Durand, Alicea spent 18 months mastering his skills at Hemingway’s and La Coquina restaurants. Alicea then returned to Chicago and received his first official chef position at Hyatt Regency McCormick.
Ready for a change, Alicea left Hyatt and chose to take a Sous Chef position under Patrick Robinson at 160 Blue in Chicago owned by Michael Jordan and David Zadikoff. It was here that Alicea perfected his skills in fine dining and New World Cuisine. His next venture took him away from restaurants but not out of the kitchen. Alicea began working as a private chef for elite families in Chicago. He loved the independence of creating his own menu and experimenting with flavors. It was at this time that Alicea cultivated his own culinary style.
Recognizing Alicea’s talent, in May of 2000, Hyatt again approached him with a new opportunity –to be a part of the opening team of the acclaimed NoMI restaurant in the Park Hyatt Chicago. In 2003, following his success at NoMI, Alicea moved to Beverly Hills, California and became the youngest Executive Chef in the Hyatt Corporation at the age of 23, heading up the food and beverage program for the largest Park Hyatt in the company, Park Hyatt Beverly Hills. After five years, Alicea returned to Chicago and became the Corporate Executive Chef of Hyatt Hotels. He’s helped to open Hyatt restaurants all over the globe including restaurants in Hyatt Regency Trinidad, the Grand Hyatt San Antonio, the Hyatt Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale, AZ and the Andaz Hotels in West Hollywood and Wall Street.
Alicea landed in New York City where he recently opened the shop at Andaz 5th Avenue and the bar in the cellar. As the Executive Chef and Head of Food & Beverage, Alicea was in charge of creating the unique room service menus and the culinary offerings in Apartment 2E, which quickly became one of the most coveted event spaces in Midtown Manhattan. The menu reflected his simplistic style, and consisted of farm to table driven ingredients, celebrating locally sourced produce and proteins from the New York area.
Alicea signed on at Hyatt Regency Chicago as their Executive Sous Chef in 2012, and currently oversees a team of culinary talent and assists with their renovations of 4 restaurants including Market Chicago, Stetsons Modern Steak + Sushi, BIG Bar and American Craft Kitchen & Bar. This huge undertaking and major menu concept change is what makes Alicea a valuable asset to Hyatt Regency Chicago. His leadership, culinary talent, experience and overall vision of the restaurant menus have gained momentum at the hotel and is proving to be a leader in the industry.
Alicea is currently married with two children. To this day, he continues to visit the Roberto Clemente High School in Chicago to speak with troubled teens about his successes and how cooking and hard work has changed his life.
As Assistant Pastry Chef of the 2,019-room Hyatt Regency Chicago, the largest Hyatt property in the world, Chef Kelli oversees six different outlets within the hotel as well as every banquet function the hotel hosts.
Kelli graduated with honors in 2006 from the Illinois Institute of Art. She began working as Assistant Pastry Chef at the Fairmont Hotel Millennium Park and assisted in the opening of The Savoy Hotel in London, United Kingdom in 2010 and 2011.
Kelli started as the Assistant Pastry Chef in June 2011 for Hyatt Regency Chicago. Her many talents and impressive background in the culinary field has brought many accolades to Hyatt Regency Chicago’s culinary department.
As Sous Chef of the 2,019-room Hyatt Regency Chicago, the city’s largest hotel and largest Hyatt property in the world, Chef Kostas Chaidaropoulos oversees Stetsons Modern Steak + Sushi.
Chef Kostas attended the School of Tourism and Hospitality in Thessaloniki, Greece, where he obtained his culinary degree. He began his career with Hyatt Hotels in 1998 at Hyatt Regency Casinos in Thessaloniki, Greece. His culinary talent took him to various resorts and hotels throughout Greece until he moved his family to Chicago in 2010 to further pursue his talents in the culinary field.
Hailing from Greece, Chef Kostas brings extensive Mediterranean flavors to the table as well as keeping the menu regionally sourced to support our area farmers. Sustainable living is key to a healthier menu, and this is at the forefront of Chef Kostas’ mind in preparation and implementation for Stetsons Modern Steak + Sushi.