Meet the Chefs
Chef Laurent Tourondel - Culinary Partner
A native of France, Chef Laurent Tourondel parlayed his love of food at an early age into a four-year program at Saint Vincent Ecole de Cuisine in Montlucon, France, where he earned his “d’Aptitude Professionnelle de Cuisinier.” After graduation, he received his first post in the kitchen as chef to the admiral in the French Navy. Following this position, he worked at several esteemed restaurants throughout France before traveling to London, where he cooked at the famed gentleman’s club Boodle’s.
In the years that followed, Tourondel worked under such notable chefs as: Bruno Tison at Restaurant Beau Geste in Manhattan; Jacques Maximin at Restaurant Ledoyen in France; and Chef de Partie at Restaurant Mercury at the Hotel InterContinental in Moscow. From there, Tourondel worked at the three-star Michelin, Relais & Chateau Troisgros, before taking a post as executive chef of C.T., Claude Troisgros’ debut restaurant in New York City. Tourondel served as executive chef at Palace Court Restaurant at the world famous Caesar’s Palace Hotel and Casino, followed by a return to New York City to open Cello. Upon leaving Cello, Tourondel saw a great opportunity to spend time traveling through South America, Asia and Africa, where he further developed his own culinary voice.
Tourondel returned to the States to open BLT Steak (2004), BLT Fish (2005), BLT Prime (2005), BLT Burger (2006), and BLT Market (2007), as well as LT Burger in the Harbor, LT Bar & Grill, LT Burger and Arlington Club, a partnership with TAO Group. Along with a number of oversees properties, including LT Bar & Grill in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Tourondel is also the executive chef at Brasserie Ruhlmann in Manhattan's Rockefeller Center.
In 2015, after consulting on some of the city’s most high profile projects, Tourondel opened two adjacent properties in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, The Vine, a cocktail lounge with a menu of signature small plates, along with L’Amico, an American restaurant with Italian influences inspired by his upbringing in the European countryside.
In June 2016, Tourondel continued his longstanding relationship with The Betsy South Beach, Miami’s premier boutique hotel, with the opening of LT Steak & Seafood, a seasonally-inspired American restaurant located within the hotel. This was the first of three culinary concepts to open that Tourondel oversees as part of the property’s larger expansion. Joining LT Steak & Seafood, The Alley and The Alley Ventanita, a classic Italian Pizzeria and Gelateria, opened in November 2017. In spring of 2018 Tourondel made his return to the London dining scene with his first restaurant in Europe, Laurent at Café Royal, a new Grill and Sushi Bar in the heart of the West End on the first floor of the modern grand Hotel Café Royal on Regent Street.
Tourondel's latest concept, Sag Pizza, opened August 2018, bringing his signature pies to Long Island’s East End in Sag Harbor.
Tourondel was named “Restaurateur of the Year” by Bon Appetit magazine in 2007 and has published three cookbooks, Go Fish: Fresh Ideas for American Seafood (J. Wiley & Sons, 2004), Bistro Laurent Tourondel: New American Bistro Cooking (J. Wiley & Sons, 2007), which earned him a 2008 James Beard Foundation Award nomination, and Fresh from the Market: Seasonal Cooking with Laurent Tourondel, (J. Wiley & Sons, 2010).
Daniel Ganem - Executive Chef
Born and raised in Miami, Executive Chef Daniel Ganem’s culinary knowledge was fostered from a young age, his love for cooking blossoming while working alongside his Arab and Basque grandparents in their family kitchen. As a teenager, Ganem’s parents were Chilean diplomats, leaving him with an abundance of free time. During this time off, Ganem worked in various bakeries and restaurants throughout Miami. Following his completion of high school, Ganem was determined to pursue his culinary passion and moved to Orlando, Fla., where he studied at Le Cordon Bleu and worked at Norman van Aken’s Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton.
Upon completion of his culinary education, Ganem held an apprenticeship with renowned chef Michael Mina at Aqua in San Francisco. Following his stint at Aqua, Ganem spent time in Panama and Bolivia working for Summit Hotels, during which he gained a vast knowledge of working with indigenous foods and ingredients. Following his time in Central and South America, Ganem decided to pursue his dream of becoming an expert on his familial roots in the Basque region of Spain, so in 2007 he moved to San Sebastian and staged at Martin Berasategui’s eponymous restaurant known for being the recipient of three Michelin stars, as well as Mugaritz, which held two Michelin Stars.
Following his Spanish experience, Ganem returned to Miami where he reunited with his mentor Michael Mina and assisted with the opening of Bourbon Steak. Upon hearing of the opening of Laurent Tourondel’s BLT Steak at The Betsy Hotel, Ganem decided it was time for a change. He worked under Tourondel and Samuel Gorenstein for the opening of the restaurant. In 2011, Ganem moved on to work with Michael Schwartz at sbe’s The Raleigh Hotel in South Beach. Working as the Chef de Cuisine, Ganem used locally and thoughtfully sourced ingredients at Restaurant Michael Schwartz, earning a variety of rave reviews from local outlets including the Miami New Times and a coveted 3½ star review in The Miami Herald.
In 2014, Ganem was approached by Tourondel and was asked to return to his former mentor’s BLT Steak as the Chef de Cuisine. Ganem remained with the property through the restaurant’s transition from BLT Steak to LT Steak & Seafood, and has since become the Executive Chef for The Betsy Hotel, overseeing both LT and the hotel’s newest concept, The Alley. When not in the kitchen, Ganem spends his time at home with his wife Anita and his three children, Caleb, Emma and Logan. His main pastime and hobby is photography, and he often photographs his own dishes for The Betsy.