Taking F&B Operations to a New Level, the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort Fills Two Key Positions

(Scottsdale, Arizona) August 15, 2014 – To tantalize hotel guests’ and local residents’ tastes for a delicious, innovative dining experience, the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort recently hired two employees to fulfill key food and beverage roles within this AAA Four Diamond desert vacation and meeting destination:

·         New Executive Chef JUAN VASQUEZ-SANTOS is charged with developing and designing all menus for the Ahnala Mesquite Room, poolside café and room service.  Over the past 22 years, Vasquez-Santos has held similar positions at the Hilton Phoenix Airport, Sheraton Suites Houston, The Tremont House Hotel A Wyndham Grand Hotel, Twin Owls at the Black Canyon Inn, and The Stanley Hotel.  A graduate of the Guanajuanto University Culinary School, Vasquez-Santos was named Chef of the Year 2003 (Texas) and Manager of the Year at The Tremont House (2002) and The Stanley Hotel (1996-1997).

 ·         Working closely with Vasquez-Santos is new Ahnala Mesquite Room manager MICHAEL LOPEZ.  A food and beverage professional with 12 years of hospitality experience, Lopez has held positions of increasing responsibility at The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa, Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, Wrigley Mansion and US Airways Center. Most recently, Lopez worked at the El Encanto Mexican Restaurant in Fountain Hills.

 “Ahnala offers authentic Arizona cuisine with a Southwestern twist, incorporating fresh citrus and pecans from nearby Fort McDowell Farms as well as other ingredients indigenous to the area,” explained Craig Benell, acting general manager.  “Juan and Michael’s expertise, vision and dedication to delivering an exceptional guest experience will help us take our F&B operations to an exciting new level.”

 Open from 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., the Ahnala Mesquite Room serves a delicious array of Southwest-inspired and traditional American favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner in their warmly designed dining room and spacious al fresco patio. Specialty items include their Ahnala Signature breakfasts and flavorful omelets; Ahnala Chicken Chopped Salad, fish tacos and seasoned burgers; and Ahnala Rib Eye, Muscovy Duck Breast and Seared Diver Scallops.

 “As a business enterprise owned and operated by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, we strive to incorporate our rich culture and heritage throughout the resort,” added Benell.  “Ahnala means ‘tree’ in Yavapai, with most of the trees on Native American soil being mesquite trees.  Our restaurant name reflects the natural mesquite grill on which we prepare a variety of mouthwatering grilled meats, poultry and seafood.” 

 About the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort

Conveniently located 20 minutes from the airport, the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort ( features 246 contemporary guestrooms and suites designed with Native American traditions, bold Southwestern cuisine at Ahnala Restaurant, luxurious spa treatments and salon services at the Amethyst Spa, and a spacious heated outdoor pool with two whirlpools.  The resort’s proximity to the award-winning courses at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, gaming and entertainment at Fort McDowell Casino, and the numerous outdoor activities at Fort McDowell Adventures make it the ideal destination for a vacation, business function or special event.


Gail Manginelli

GM & Associates


# # #