Thomas Riordan brings a prestigious culinary background, more than 20 years of experience ranging from fine dining to large banquet service in numerous award-winning restaurants across the country and an exceptional understanding of the luxury market place to his role as Executive Chef at The Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass.
In his position, Riordan has the significant task of overseeing all culinary functions at Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass, including oversight of restaurant concepts and menus for Ko’Sin and the signature restaurant, Kai. Additionally he will oversee meeting and group banquets, event catering, guest room dining for the 500 room resort and all culinary staff recruitment and training.
Most recently Riordan served as the Executive Chef at W Austin, and his responsibilities included management of several culinary venues including; TRACE restaurant, banquets, pastry, butchery and charcuterie, food service in the resort’s three bars and lounges, all functions of in-room dining, stewarding operations, catering and the green room for the ACL theater.
Prior to that he was the Executive Chef at The St. Regis Aspen where he developed and executed the concepts for Italian restaurant Trecento Quindici Decano, as well as the innovative new spa treatment for Remede Spa, the “Farm-to-massage table.” Riordan also opened and served as Executive Chef at the renowned Chef’s Club, Food & Wine’s collaborative platform for showcasing some of the country’s top culinary talent.
His breadth of experience includes positions at several esteemed restaurants in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. He was the Executive Sous Chef at The Phoenician, the Chef de Cuisine at Marquesa, which was the AAA Five-Diamond signature restaurant of The Scottsdale Princess, when open. He also held a chef position at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn. Riordan graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
As the Greater Phoenix area continues to evolve and thrive as a culinary destination, Chef Riordan’s enthusiasm for creativity and his finesse will further establish the great culinary tradition for which Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass is known.
Executive Sous Chef
An expert culinary leader with more than 32 years of experience, Lee Hillson was appointed Executive Sous Chef of Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in May 2017. In his new role, Hillson oversees all meeting and banquet culinary functions at the hotel, including oversight of menus and preparation. This includes overseeing meeting and group banquets, including weddings, event catering, culinary staff recruitment and training. Additionally, Hillson will work closely with resort Executive Chef Thomas Riordan assisting the culinary staff and operating functions at dining outlets across the property.
Most recently Hillson served as the Executive Sous Chef at The Phoenician, where he spent the past four and a half years, and his responsibilities included assisting in management of the culinary staff across resort restaurants including Il Terrazzo, Relish Burger Bistro, the Café and Ice Cream Parlor and the Oasis Grill. Hillson also contributed to menu creation and preparation along with supporting other culinary departments including; pastry, bakeshop and in-room dining.
Prior to that he was the Executive Chef at T. Cook’s, the renowned signature restaurant at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa, in Phoenix where he gained national recognition for participation on the Food Network show, Iron Chef America, against Iron Chef Cat Cora. During this same time, British Airways recognized the innovation and talent in Hillson and commissioned him to write a menu for First Class passengers for flights from Phoenix to London.
Chef de Cuisine
Chef Swanson brings a vast level of expertise to his current position as Chef de Cuisine of Kai, at Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass. In his new role, Swanson will oversee the daily operations in Kai including all ordering, scheduling, staff training and nightly implementation. Most importantly, Swanson will oversee the creative process and drive all new menu development in Kai; from exclusive wine-dinners and private events to each frequent and inspired seasonal rotation.
With 15 years of experience in the luxury hospitality and culinary industry, Swanson has developed an extensive background in luxury and world class service. Swanson has held many notable positions at the resort. Most recently, Swanson was the Sous Chef in Kai, where he has been employed for the last 6 years. Prior to that, he was the Chef de Partie in Ko’Sin Restaurant. He was also specifically recruited to help open the Chef’s Club in Aspen, Colorado.
Swanson has a natural enthusiasm for incorporating fresh, seasonal and local ingredients into culturally relevant dishes that not only satisfy the most selective of appetites but also pique each diner’s curiosity for the connection between the history of the Pima and Maricopa People and the culinary experience offered in Kai.
Chef Swanson has played an instrumental role in helping Kai earn and maintain their AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five-Star status. Swanson was also named the resorts “Rising Star of the Year” in year 2014. Chef Swanson is also honored to have been apprenticed under Vincent Guerithault, one of the few James Beard award-winners in the Southwest. Swanson’s biggest personal accomplishment is earning the title of Sous Chef and now Chef de Cuisine of Kai.
Chef Swanson graduated from Scottsdale Community College Culinary Program with honors in 2006. Swanson currently resides in Tempe. When he has time away from the kitchen, he enjoys hiking, golfing, hockey, listening to vinyl records and traveling.