455 Grand Bay Dr., Key Biscayne, Florida 33149 U.S.A.
Phone:  +1 (305) 365-4500   •  Map & Directions

Cioppino: Culinary Team

  Executive Chef, Clayton van Hooijdonk
  Sommelier Jorge Mendoza

Executive Chef, Clayton van Hooijdonk

Clayton van Hooijdonk
MIAMI, FL - October 5, 2011- Clayton van Hooijdonk has been named Executive Chef of The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami, responsible for the hotel’s entire culinary operation including banquets, in-room dining, club level and the resort’s four, globally-inspired restaurants, Cantina Beach, RUMBAR, Dune Oceanfront Burger Lounge and Cioppino.

van Hooijdonk began his schooling in Holland, originally intending to obtain a degree in hotel management, and earned his degree in the Netherlands, where he began his culinary career. Chef van Hooijdonk has achieved a noteworthy culinary background in restaurants and hotels throughout the United States and Europe, and his cuisine continues to be derived from years of traveling and experimenting with international flavors. He began his Ritz-Carlton career at The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common which led him to be a part of the opening team and leader for The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain in Tucson, Arizona.

A New Zealander by birth, Clayton van Hooijdonk has resided and traveled several countries, exposing him to different cultures, culinary techniques and ingredients, allowing him to showcase his worldly influences and talents at his new tenure, The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami.

“Moving between countries such as Germany and New Zealand and different parts of the U.S. was purposefully staged to broaden my culinary experiences. You learn something new in every region, and that keeps you motivated and makes you a stronger person.”

Joining the executive leadership team as the executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami presented van Hoojidonk the opportunity to blend old, new, local and international culinary techniques to the resort. “The key to capturing your guests is to adapt to the local cuisine while staying true to yourself. Use the flavors that are around you, but turn them into something new and exciting for the guest.” He continues to work with local growers and purveyors to keep the menu tempting and locally relevant, with an international flair to complement the overall guest dining experience.
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Sommelier Jorge Mendoza

As a youth growing up in the seaside city of Viña del Mar, Chile, Jorge Mendoza learned the beauty of pairing a delicious wine with the perfect culinary accompaniment at the family dinner table.

After graduating from the National School of Hotel Management (INACAP) in Santiago with a major in food and beverage, Mendoza moved to Miami to begin a career in the hospitality industry with Marriott. He then went on to continue his education at Florida International University, earning a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree in hospitality management. While studying enology, he found himself gaining a new perspective for analyzing and tasting wines critically and decided to place a more specific focus on training himself as a sommelier.  Learning more about the trade at various gourmet restaurants and fine hotels in the area, he began his career at The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne in 2001.

Regular travels through renowned wine regions from Burgundy to Tuscany serve as continued inspiration for Mendoza in his love of enology. He holds a Foundation Level Sommelier Certificate, Court of Master Sommeliers Certificate, Advanced Certificate Program for the Wines of France and Italy (with honors) and an Advanced Level Sommelier Certificate. In addition, Mendoza shares his vast expertise with aspiring sommeliers and aficionados as an instructor with the US Sommelier Association.
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