Lifestyle

AC Hotel Orlando Downtown is called Robert Mason

ac-hotel-orlando-downtown-is-called-robert-mason

The first downtown Orlando lifestyle hotel won industry veterans Robert Mason to forge an innovative beverage and food (B & F) program.

With a plan to stir up the area’s cocktail scene, Mason is moving to AC Hotel Orlando Downtown as Director of Beverage & Food, with over 35 years of hospitality experience, 20 of them in the Central Florida area.

“My passion for using ingredients in new, artistic ways and developing innovative food and beverage techniques has fueled my career for the past three decades,” he says mason.

“Having worked in Orlando for most of my life, I am currently keen to create a B&B program that will appeal to both guests and locals alike.”

Mason’s inventive B&B program for the new AC Hotel Orlando Downtown includes Spanish-style tapas, creative cocktails made from locally sourced and farm-fresh ingredients, and draft beers from nearby breweries in Tampa, Orlando and South Florida. One of Mason’s signature creations , known as “The Cloud,” is inspired by the magic of Orlando and SkyBars rooftop position seemingly between the clouds. The unique libation includes Hendricks gin and a white ball that gently releases elderflower herbs when it gently pops open. Mason will also oversee the property’s entertainment schedule, which will eventually include a live DJ and Spanish guitarist.

Originally from San Francisco Bay, Mason began his career with a three-year apprenticeship with the Italian master chef Ermes Paulin. After a passion for creative culinary concepts with global flavors, Mason was named Executive Chef of Vic Stewart’s Steak House in Walnut Creek, California, followed by a position as Executive Chef for the California Café, a move that Mason eventually did Tasked with opening the Orlando location at the California Café, Mason discovered his talent for F&B operations, staff development and seasonal menu creation, placing the restaurant on the list of Florida’s Top 20 Restaurants Trend landed in the Sunshine State.

Mason joined The Kessler Collection in 2001 as Executive Chef and Deputy Director of Food & Beverage. He opened the Grand Bohemian in Orlando and created the menu for The Boheme to eventually secure its status as the top-rated restaurant in Orlando. After gaining such prominence in the culinary community, Mason was invited to serve as a guest chef at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City in what he describes as a career defining moment. Following this, Mason was promoted to Corporate Executive Chef / Food & Beverage Director for The Kessler Collection in 2005, overseeing eight portfolio properties, including six AAA Four Diamond operations.

He broadened his horizons when he took on a new role as Director of Food & Beverage for The Westin Imagine Orlando, driving strategy for award-winning Fiorellas Cucina Toscana restaurant. During his six-year tenure, Mason was recognized as a pioneer in the Orlando culinary scene and inducted into the Orlando Fine Dining Hall of Fame. Mason was hired as Director of Food and Beverage for Reunion Resort in 2015. He was responsible for his leadership skills, tireless dedication, and multifaceted influence in F&B. His responsibilities included managing day-to-day F&B operations, redesigning menus, improving revenue, and overseeing nine meeting branches.

Mason is now ready to oversee the drinks and food program at the brand new AC Hotel Orlando Downtown, including the signature SkyBar rooftop terrace. He endeavors to translate his knowledge and experience into a lively cocktail program and to take over the strategic leadership for the cocktail and the culinary offerings of the hotel concepts.

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Janet Smith