Coffee With... Steven Topple

On the Move
Touchette Moves to Raytheon
John C. Touchette, CMP, has become senior manager, meetings and special events, at Waltham, Mass.-based Raytheon Co. Previously, he served as assistant vice president, meeting management, at Boston-based John Hancock.

Susan Belanger is director of sales for Miami’s Tides Hotel.
Richard Cimilluca was named the director of sales and marketing for The Heldrich in New Brunswick, N.J.
Larry Colton is the new director of sales and marketing for Phoenix’s Pointe South Mountain Resort.
Michelle Deegan is the national sales manager, specializing in the Northeast Region, for the Palm Beach County (Fla.) Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Brad R. Van Dommelen has been named president of the Traverse City (Mich.) Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Michael Krouse is the new vice president of convention sales for L.A. Inc., the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Dwayne McKillop is global sales and marketing director for Toronto, Ontario-based event company Exposoft Solutions Inc.
Scott D. Mumma is now director of sales and marketing at Basking Ridge, N.J.’s North Maple Inn.
Yulita Osuba, CMP, has been named senior director for the sales, marketing and event management division at the Orange County (Fla.) Convention Center.
Neil C. Pompan, CMP, was named CFO and EVP of consulting solutions operations for EMCVenues, a Mt. Vernon, N.Y.-based conference center and resort consortium.
Carolyn Poole is the new director of group sales, Canada, Western Region, for InterContinental Hotels & Resorts.
Anna Marie Presutti has been promoted to vice president of sales and marketing for the U.S. arm of Hotel Nikko Inc.
Keith Voets is the new sales and marketing manager for the Greater Hartford (Conn.) Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Peter Woods has been named director of event planning
for the Renaissance Schaumburg (Ill.) Hotel & Convention Center.

Steven Topple

"Just trust the chef. If you have a theme, let us work with it.”

Steven Topple, executive sous chef at The Lodge at Vail (Colo.), a RockResort, is something of a favorite chef among small, luxurious properties. His enviable career has led him from his hometown in England to some of the country’s finest resorts. M&C talked with Topple while he was gearing up for the launch of his new cookbook, So You Want to Impress (Authorhouse).

What’s the most exciting thing you’re doing at work? This summer, we started a four- to six-course blind-tasting menu. The guests just tell us what they don’t eat if someone doesn’t like olives, say, or fish, or if someone is a vegetarian and we surprise them. Everyone seems to love it.

Have you enjoyed living in different parts of the world? It’s one of the greatest things about being a chef. I was in culinary school in England for three years, then Scotland, then Lake Placid Lodge in the Adirondacks, then in San Francisco with Wolfgang Puck. At the Lodge at Sea Island [Ga.], every room had butler service. When I came here from Georgia and saw all the snow it was beautiful.

What should planners know about your job? I’d ask them to just trust the chef. If you have a theme, let us work with it. Last month, we created a whiskey-themed dinner for one of our clients, and it was terrific fun.

What should diners never say when you ask about the meal? The worst is when people say, “It’s all right.” If it’s good, then of course I’d love to hear it. But if it’s bad, then tell me so I can fix it!