Visit San Jose appoints Michael Riddell executive chef

He’ll lead culinary efforts at McEnery Convention Center, cultural theaters

The marketing organization of the City of San Jose, Calif. has chosen a new head of culinary in Michael Riddell to oversee banquet and catering. Visit San Jose appointed him executive chef for the San Jose McEnery Convention Center and the four cultural San Jose Theaters. Riddell will work collaboratively with the Visit San Jose Events Operations team and Sales & Destination Services.

Visit San Jose and its parent, Team San jose, has tasked him with enhancing the menu offerings as part of customized options for meeting clients and attendees. Riddell’s classic French training combined with Mediterranean influences will be fully on display at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center and theaters. San Jose owns California Theatre, the Center for the Performing Arts, Montgomery Theater, and the San Jose Civic, and will now be home to Riddell’s culinary creativity.

A Bay Area native, Riddell graduated from California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Early on, The Ritz-Carlton – Half Moon Bay provided valuable experience as he cultivated his talents at the hotel’s restaurants, The Conservancy and Navio, a fine-dining concept. Subsequently, Riddell served as Chef de Cuisine at Porta Blu, the restaurant at Silicon Valley’s Hotel Nia.


“His (Riddell’s) extensive experience at Ritz Carlton and most recently, at Porta Blu at Hotel Nia, will provide an elevated dining experience to build upon San Jose’s already solid reputation in the meetings space,” said Karolyn Kirchgesler, president and chief executive of Team San Jose, in a statement.

Riddell will help boost Visit San Jose as a vertically-integrated solution for all meeting planners and visiting attendees, from booking until conclusion of events. His addition bolsters San Jose as a premier meetings destination for Silicon Valley, announced Visit San Jose.

Photo credit: Frances Wong for Team San Jose

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