Mediterranean Fare Combines with California’s Bounty at Plateia UCLA Meyer & Renee Luskin Conference Center

Executive Chef Todd Sicolo Brings Farm-Fresh, Sustainable Menus and Cosmopolitan Flair to Conference Center’s Dining Experience

Los Angeles, California, June 14, 2016 …Topnotch technology, dazzling architecture, carefully planned, sustainable conference space and the resources of a renowned university — every aspect of the new UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center is designed to inspire and engage while raising the meeting experience to significant and far-reaching levels.  Executive Chef Todd Sicolo brings this same commitment to excellence to the center’s food and beverage operations. His holistic, sustainable and cosmopolitan approach reflects the vision of the center, creating an atmosphere where conference attendees can gather in a convivial, attractive space, exchange ideas and enjoy food that is heathy, fresh, responsibly sourced and appealing to a wide audience.

Opening in August, 2016 in the heart of the UCLA campus, The Luskin Conference Center will offer 254 spacious guest rooms and 25,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting space. Plateia, its 162-seat restaurant and lounge will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in a modern, light-filled space overlooking the center’s beautifully landscaped grounds and olive groves. Two private dining rooms are available for special functions and both indoor and al fresco dining are offered. Room service will be available for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the kitchens will provide catering for conferences and special events.

Chef Sicolo’s innovative new approach to food and beverage service combines the fresh flavors and time-honored culinary techniques of the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea with the bounty of the Golden State. California’s produce, poultry, beef, artisanal cheeses, and fish fresh from Pacific waters grace the menus, accompanied by the state’s acclaimed wines. .

“Mediterranean cuisine spans not only Europe, but the countries of North Africa and Middle Eastern lands such as Lebanon, Israel and Turkey,” Chef Sicolo notes.  Fare will be largely from France, Italy, Greece and Spain, featuring Brick Pressed Chicken with Pork Lardons, Pork Milanese, Octopus and Paella Valencia. Dishes from other countries will be introduced, including hummus, couscous, falafel and a weekly Tagine. Those menus will change frequently based on seasonality and availability from local partners. Hearty and healthy pastas and salads will also be available. Desserts are rich in chocolate, caramel and fruit.

Sustainability informs every aspect of the Luskin Conference Center, from energy use and water conservation to construction using locally-sourced materials. The culinary team will seek sustainable solutions to all facets of the food and beverage process. For example, the center will utilize sustainable serving dishes from Veterra, made from processed bamboo. The dishes are reusable and disposable and come in a modern design resembling wood.

Few kitchens can claim the resources of a great university to help create an exceptional and sustainable environment. UCLA has formed tremendous partnerships with local California farms, foragers and fisheries, which have played an active role in the menu development for the opening of the Luskin Conference Center in August.  “We have the great luxury of being able to open with a spectacular menu by leveraging UCLA’s relationships with local partners to assist us in selecting premium produce and products at the simply the best time of the year,” said Chef Sicolo.  “What more could a chef ask for?”

Few kitchens can claim the resources of a great university to help create an exceptional and sustainable environment. In addition to the technological advantages provided by UCLA, the university’s School of Agriculture will assist in creating herb and vegetable gardens for the restaurant and a bee hive. An avid gardener, Chef Sicolo is especially excited by the prospect of fresh vegetables and herbs available year ‘round, right at his kitchen’s door.  “Ever since I was a child helping my family by growing our own food, I learned the importance of using the highest quality ingredients available.”  Chef Sicolo continued with, “I also learned to keep dishes simple and let the seasons guide me with the freshest ingredients throughout the year.  This has always been a key to my success in the kitchen.”

Todd Sicolo comes to his new position with more than 15 years of experience as executive chef for important hotels and resorts in multiple markets.  Most recently he served as executive chef for The Shelborne Grand, a resort and spa in Miami’s South Beach, working directly with acclaimed chef, Masaharu Morimoto.  Prior to this appointment, Chef Sicolo was executive chef for the Grove Park Inn and Spa in Asheville, North Carolina, the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa, the Boca Raton Resort and Spa of Boca Raton, Florida, and the Bellagio Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Earlier in his career he was executive chef for Little Dix Bay of the British Virgin Islands.

Todd Sicolo is a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, located in Hyde Park, New York.  He is a member of the American Culinary Federation, and a Board Member of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute.

About the UCLA Meyer & Renee Luskin Conference Center
The UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center, currently under construction in the heart of UCLA’s vibrant campus, offers an inspirational learning environment in a thoughtfully designed space that fosters excellence, engagement, inspiration and breakthroughs. Scheduled to open in August 2016, the UCLA Luskin Conference Center is set amid iconic and historic campus buildings and the exhilarating backdrop of daily student life. The Luskin Conference Center is a place where the best academic minds, medical innovators, researchers, political leaders, and societal visionaries will meet to exchange ideas that will help shape the world.

Upon opening, the UCLA Luskin Conference Center will feature 254 beautifully-appointed guest rooms, many with sweeping views of the stunning campus architecture and beautifully landscaped grounds. With more than 25,000 square feet of versatile and thoughtfully-planned event space, the Luskin Conference Center will offer some of the most technologically advanced facilities available within the United States and globally. The gracious guest experience at the Luskin Conference Center will be further enhanced by a full-service restaurant and lounge, room service for breakfast, lunch and dinner, on-site professional catering services, well-equipped fitness center, concierge service, business center, valet parking and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the property. The conference center project is self-sustaining and does not utilize state funding or revenues from student tuition. For more information, please visit http://luskinconferencecenter.ucla.edu/.

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