Brenton Hotel introduces new culinary leadership team

Newport, RI Andy Ross, managing director of the Brenton Hotel, the new 57-room luxury boutique hotel on the harbor in Newport, RI, opening in July 2020, announced today the appointment of Kevin Wood as Executive Chef and Emily Brakenhoff as Food and Beverage Director. 

Executive Chef Wood is charged with developing the new hotel’s seasonal menus, as well as conducting day-to-day culinary operations of the main dining outlet the Living Room, in-room dining and catered affairs. Collaborating with Executive Chef Wood, Brakenhoff will cultivate the hotel’s beverage program, in addition to leading all front-of-house dining operations.

In making the announcement, Ross said, “Kevin and Emily are the perfect team to bring to life every culinary touchpoint at the Brenton. The Living Room was purposely designed to evoke the same lively and laidback feeling of when close friends and family gather at home over good food, tall drinks, and spirited conversations. Kevin has a diverse background ranging from high-end dining, to more straightforward pub-like eateries. Kevin’s versatility and explicit attention to detail have heightened the menus to effortlessly match the casual and social atmosphere of the Living Room, a concept we believe fills a niche currently missing in downtown Newport.”

Ross added, “Emily is passionate, with a forward-thinking edge. Her ability to infuse fun into upscale libation pairings will be felt throughout the hotel inviting locals and guests to kick-back and revel in Brenton experience.”   

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The Living Room, found on the Brenton’s second floor, surrounds guests with panoramic views of the harbor and historic cityscape and the inviting sounds of a convivial brass bar and casual conversation of locals after a day of sailing. Stylishly furnished with intimidate groups sofas, armchairs, and low tables that recreate the relaxed feeling of home, the waterfront dining venue offers a locally sourced menu of shared plates and vibrant craft cocktails inspired by its breathtaking coastal views.

As a way to inspire conversation and connect guests with local fare, Executive Chef Wood is developing a shareable menu of elevated yet approachable dishes integrating New England sourced ingredients ranging from daily caught oysters, cheese and charcuterie boards, and stuffed little neck clams, to grilled lamb chops with rosemary jalapeño drizzle.

To accentuate the flavors of the menu, Brakenhoff is curating a regionally focused list of craft cocktails, artisanal beers, and fine wines to perfectly pair with each dish.  Ross added, “As local Newporters, both Kevin and Emily are tapped into the finest freshly harvested and artisanal products in the area, delivering a distinctively Newport experience in every bite and sip.”  

With nearly 35 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Kevin Wood was previously the Executive Chef at Newport’s iconic White Horse Tavern, “America’s Oldest Tavern” delivering sophisticated and local cuisine in a historic colonial setting. A local Newporter with a passion for flavorful food, coupled with expertise in French culinary techniques, Woods is credited for delivering exceptional seasonal menus that incorporate regionally sourced ingredients. He has also held Executive Chef positions at Le Bistro – Newport and Café Zelda in Newport, RI.

Fluent in the fine dining service environment, Emily Brakenhoff brings nearly 10 years of front-of-house restaurant operations and guest relations expertise to her new position at the Brenton Hotel.  Prior to joining the Brenton, Brakenhoff was restaurant manager at Newport Vineyards where she combined her love of wine with her passion for exceptional food and service to develop menus and execute private events working cohesively with the winemakers, owners, and chefs.  Prior to Newport Vineyards, Brakenhoff was restaurant manager at Gurneys Newport Resort & Marina managing all property dining outlets including Scarpetta. 

Owned by The Brenton Hotel, LLC, a locally based investment group, and operated by White Horse Hospitality also of Newport, the Brenton Hotel has a prime location located along the waterfront at 31 American’s Cup Avenue on the corner of Long Wharf. For more information, visit www.brentonhotel.com

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