The InterContinental Mark Hopkins is proud to announce Michael Wong as the hotel’s new Executive Chef, overseeing the food programs for this historic hotel property including room service, its iconic Top of the Mark lounge, and Nob Hill Club – the hotel’s restaurant, Club Lounge and grab and go space. Wong has spent more than 20 years working with some of the most renowned hotel brands like Hyatt, Starwood, and Hilton in destinations across America from Hawaii to Virginia and throughout California.
For Chef Michael Wong, his love of food began with his interest in art. Like many chefs, he grew up in a household where food and cooking traditions were part of family life but it wasn’t until college where he enrolled as an arts major that he began to see cooking as a form of artistic expression. “I accepted a job at Disneyland working in foodservice and enjoyed the interaction I had with the cooks and chefs,” says Wong. “It was art on a different canvas – I could still draw and paint, but on a plate instead.” From there, Wong decided to take some general classes at the local college while getting hands-on culinary experience in the field at the former Hyatt Regency Irvine in Southern California.
Having been raised in South East Asia, Wong’s approach to dishes and menu development is deeply rooted in that region. “I was exposed to Laos, Thai, Vietnamese and other neighboring cuisines which gave me an incredible range of herbs and spices that allow me to get creative when it comes to putting a dish together,” says Wong. “I want my food to be fun and exciting and ultimately get the guests interested in learning more about how an herb or spice can really impact a dish. I like to use ingredients that might be unfamiliar to the guest to really get them talking about what they are eating.”
While Wong comes to the InterContinental Mark Hopkins from the Embassy Suites LAX South by Hilton Hotel in Southern California, it is not his first time calling the city by the bay home. He previously spent five years as the Executive Sous Chef for the Grand Hyatt San Francisco, overseeing a staff of more than 50 and running the programs for the hotel’s 685 rooms and Grand Views Restaurant and Lounge.
“The city made an impression on me and I’m thrilled to be back working with the InterContinental Mark Hopkins teams,” says Wong. “San Francisco is a melting pot of cultures and with that comes this wide range of cuisine available in such a small landscape – something very familiar to me from my upbringing.”