Chris Southwick, Executive Assistant Manager of Culinary and Food & Beverage
Chris Southwick joins The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas from The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya in China, where for two years he directed culinary operations for the acclaimed resort, its restaurants, Golf Club and Members Beach Club. His illustrious, nearly 20-year career is highlighted by a Ritz-Carlton pedigree with some of the brand’s top hotels in Sanya, Sarasota, Moscow, Huntington (Pasadena, CA), Palm Beach and Cleveland. Southwick has opened luxury hotels and restaurants across the globe, including Jeroboam at The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow, which became the highest-ranked restaurant in the city within months of opening.
Throughout his hospitality career, Southwick has had the opportunity to create dining experiences not only for hotel guests and visitors, but also for dignitaries, heads of state and presidents worldwide. The valedictorian of his 1996 class at the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute has also designed and implemented major dinners for the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs™ annual culinary event and for the Aspen Food & Wine Festival. Additionally, he holds certifications in Food and Beverage Management, Safety and Sanitation, and Menu Design.
As Executive Assistant Manager of Culinary and Food & Beverage, Southwick leads all hotel culinary and food & beverage activities at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, including In-Room Dining, Banquets, Hotel Catering, Off-Premise Catering, and Pool and Spa Dining.
When not lending his energy and creativity to the hotel’s culinary operation, Southwick can be found eating his way through Dallas. He truly has devoted his time to continually redefining his palate and discovering new cuisine. He seeks out small farmers and artisan craft people to really understand the heritage of the food that has become Dallas. He also enjoys playing golf and spending time with his wife, Ericka, and son, Carter.
Todd Sabo, Executive Sous Chef
An inspired, internationally-focused chef, Detroit native Todd Sabo joined the food world in unexpected fashion, beginning his professional life as an engineer who simply wished he could teach his mother to prepare more appetizing food at home.
Originally interested in studying International Law and holding a dual degree in English Literature and Russian Language from the University of Michigan, Sabo followed his university career with a several-year stint working in industrial engineering and traveling through Mexico and South America. While working as an engineer, Sabo was dedicated to expanding his knowledge of the Latin foods surrounding him, and this created in him a strong passion for the preparation and enjoyment of authentic ethnic cuisine. While Sabo had cooked his way through college at The Real Seafood Company in Michigan, these post-college years instilled in him an abiding appreciation for fresh, flavorful, well-prepared foods from around the world.
After six years of global travel and professional experience as an electrical engineer, Sabo relocated to Boca Raton, Florida, where he assumed culinary positions at both the Mediterranean-styled Mark’s in the Park and Catch 22, known for its fresh seafood dishes with American, Asian and Italian influences. Two days after the tragedy of September 11, 2001, he returned to his home state of Michigan and began working with Panera Bread®. An initial position as a baker eventually evolved into a business role as marketing manager, and Sabo was soon overseeing the performance of five locations within the Panera brand.
In 2003, Todd Sabo joined The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., working at The Grill, a AAA Four-Diamond fine-dining restaurant at the then Ritz-Carlton, Dearborn. Within four years, he had been promoted to the position of sous chef and had agreed to move to Texas and join The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas as a specialty chef. He has since become a key leader in the hotel’s culinary division, known for his abiding passion for sushi, Middle Eastern, Latin and other globally-treasured menus, and for providing a VIP dining experience to hotel guests from all parts of the world. As one example, Sabo recently paid a personal visit to a bride’s Russian grandmother, just to research, perfect and prepare beloved recipes which had been served to the bride’s family for generations.
Sabo is also celebrated for his role in the success of the hotel’s off-premise catering initiative, which opened the renowned AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas, Texas with customized culinary creations for several thousand prominent guests. Additionally, Sabo has worked alongside some of the most notable names in the industry, including Norman Van Aken, Dean Fearing, Cat Cora and Chris Lilly, preparing cuisine for royal dignitaries, high-profile entertainers and heads of state.
When not working in The Ritz-Carlton kitchen with some of his favorite ingredients – cumin, coriander and cilantro, Todd Sabo can be found reading or fulfilling his love of sailing and his addiction to backgammon.
Greg Thompson, Sous Chef
Corey Thomson, Pastry Chef
Pastry Chef Corey Thomson grew up in Kenosha, Wisconsin as part of a large, food-loving family who was “already planning dinner when having lunch.” By the age of 14, he knew that he loved the art of cooking, and he began creating his own savory dishes at a family-owned pizza kitchen. While he had initially yearned to become a bio-chemist, Thompson also learned the fundamentals of pastry while still a teenager, and he quickly discovered the balance of science and chemistry required within the pasty field. This realization led him to a career path which combined both of his passions.
Starting out in the pastry world, Thomson first spent a year working to familiarize himself with the discipline at Mangia Trattoria under the renowned Tony Montuano, who famously serves as chef/partner for his sister-restaurant Spiaggia, the only four-star Italian restaurant in Chicago. Thomson’s artistic and expressive side quickly came into play through the creation of layered mousse cake, tiramisu and other exotic desserts.
In 2006, Thompson made a move to Texas to train at Le Cordon Bleu of Culinary Arts in Austin (formerly Texas Culinary Academy), where he continued to master his craft and focus on the classic French techniques of patisserie. Upon completing his studies, he moved to Dallas, Texas where he spent three years at The Mansion on Turtle Creek, serving as Assistant Pastry Chef. Over this period, he worked with several notable chefs including David Collier, Bruno Davaillon and John Tesar.
Since early 2011, Thomson has been part of the team at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, creating newsworthy wedding cakes and personal favorites such as seasonally-flavored macaroons in pear, salted caramel and passion fruit. The self-described perfectionist and precisionist also enjoys working with the dynamics of chocolate and sugar, producing unique and abstract showpieces for display at The Ritz-Carlton Club® Lounge.
Thomson has also continued to differentiate himself not only through recognition by major media, including Dallas Brides, but also at high-profile events for Vogue, Cole Haan, Fashion at the Park and more. Additionally, numerous guests of The Ritz-Carlton credit the positive chef for turning their stories into sweetly edible memories.
When he isn’t crafting in the kitchen, Corey Thomson can be found trying new Dallas restaurants – preferably Chinese or Italian, or swimming his regular weekly distance of three miles and running five miles.