It is with great excitement and sadness that LUX is announcing Executive Chef Don Sanchez’ retirement, after an incredible 30+ year career in the culinary arts and hospitality. We want to show you a little background into his wonderful career and share his story!
Chef Don’s culinary career began in the Netherlands where he was trained in the classic French style of cooking. He continued his experience in Holland working at De Kromme Dissel and Kasteel Doorwerth – both Michelin Star award-winning restaurants!
After returning to the US in the 1990s, Chef Don began working with Temple Square Hospitality Group. He started his time with them as a Sous Chef at the Carriage Court restaurant for two years. While working at Carriage Court an opportunity arose with the newly renovated Hotel Utah, now the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, and Don jumped on it! He began working as the Executive Chef at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and helped to open the restaurants, as well as the banquet and catering division. His responsibilities included overseeing a robust and dedicated team of over 200 staff for the banquets and catering departments, as well as The Lion House, The Roof, and The Garden restaurants. He has written and executed hundreds of incredible menus for royalty, VIPs, and many other dignitaries, as well as the day in and day out menus for all of the departments in the company. In addition to creating those menus, Chef Don co-wrote multiple cookbooks with the culinary teams at Temple Square Hospitality. He spent a long and lovely 25 years with Temple Square Hospitality.
For many years Chris, Don’s son, tried to persuade his father to leave the Smith Building and come work with his company, LUX Catering & Events. Finally, in 2015 everything aligned and Chef Don came to work a single event with LUX. He was brought on to help execute a massive plated event for Lockheed Martin and was planning to go back to the Smith Building after working on this spectacular event. After helping to design the menu, executing a stunning plated presentation, and working hands-on in the field again, Chef Don was hooked. Chris and Don worked together with the other Managing Partners of the company and brought him on as the new Executive Chef for LUX.
Growth, creativity, and innovation at LUX are what intrigued Don the most about his move. He loved his career, and the people with Temple Square Hospitality, but missed the hands-on aspect of creating in the kitchen. LUX offered him a career move that would allow him to create new menus, processes, and teams within the company. He was thrilled to bring his classical training and background and meld them with the authentic passion for food and design that LUX showcased.
During his time at LUX some of his biggest accomplishments included creating and strengthening an incredible team of like-minded culinary artists, working side by side with his son, Chris, and producing outstanding events. Chef Don’s first event with LUX is still one of the most talked-about events, and continues to be an inspiration to new events! Don and his team have produced thousands of events over the years, over 7,000 events in his time with LUX!
After an extremely successful career with multiple top-rated restaurants and catering companies, Chef Don is hanging up his hat and retiring! While we are thrilled Don is moving on to a chapter in his life where he is able to spend more time with his family and his hobbies, LUX, and his team will miss him more than words can say! We wish Chef Don a lifetime of continued happiness!
We will be hosting a retirement celebration for him on Saturday, November 2nd from 1-4 pm at the Jaden Event Center. Come join us in celebrating an amazing man and his career!