Heartfelt delight meets chic style at the charismatic Virgin Hotels where "Everyone Leaves Feeling Better".
Travel & Tourism
|Press Contact||Heather O'Dell|
Virgin Hotels is a luxury lifestyle hospitality brand that combines heartfelt service and a personalized hotel experience inspired by the innovation and smart disruption that Sir Richard Branson's global Virgin Group has pioneered for over 50 years. Each hotel intermixes a passion for food and beverage with music, design, and culture, fusing with the local landscape and providing a vibrant and inclusive environment for travelers and locals alike. The current portfolio includes seven hotels—Virgin Hotels Chicago, Virgin Hotels Dallas, Virgin Hotels Nashville, Virgin Hotels New Orleans, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Virgin Hotels Edinburgh and the newly launched Virgin Hotels New York City. A second Scottish location in Glasgow is scheduled to debut in 2023, followed by Miami and Denver in 2025.
Known for his robust, flavorful southern cookery and meticulous technique, Alex Harrell is Executive Chef of Commons Club, the culinary epicenter of Virgin Hotels New Orleans. There, the award-winning toque creates seasonal dishes with a southern sensibility coupled with a healthy dose of Mediterranean influence.
Born and raised in southeastern Alabama, Harrell spent his childhood weekends on his grandparents’ Gulf Coast farm, where he first learned how to cook with the potatoes, berries and figs they picked. Upon graduating with a Bachelor’s degree from Hampton-Sydney College, Harrell began working in a small, beachside seafood restaurant owned by a family friend. It was this position that ignited his passion and desire to pursue a career as a chef.
In 1998, Harrell moved to New Orleans and began working as a cook at Bayona for acclaimed chef Susan Spicer. Under Spicer, Harrell acquired proper technical skills. In 2000, he began working for Chef Gerard Maras as a lunch line cook at Gerard’s Downtown. He credits both Spicer and Maras for teaching him proper technique, precision, and the value of fresh, available ingredients.
Since then, Harrell has been a mainstay on the Crescent City’s culinary landscape with stints at some of the city’s acclaimed restaurants including Ralphs on the Park, Table One and Sylvain, where he served as opening Chef. In 2015, the talented toque opened his first solo venture, Angeline, a French Quarter bistro known for its contemporary Southern cuisine and charming interiors. In 2018 Harrell accepted a position as Executive Chef to open Elysian Bar at the Peter & Paul Hotel in New Orleans’ Marigny neighborhood. Under his tutelage, the restaurant earned a “Best New Restaurant” nomination by the James Beard Foundation and was named a “Hot 10 New Restaurant in 2019” by Bon Appètit magazine.
In 2021, Harrell was tapped by the iconic Virgin Hotels brand to open their New Orleans property. Harrell’s responsibility includes developing the menu for Commons Club restaurant, The Pool Club and the hotel’s in-room dining and banquet services.
Mike Alaridi is the Executive Chef for Virgin Hotels Chicago, overseeing the entire culinary operation from Miss Ricky’s, the hotel’s elevated diner, to banquets & catering. Born and raised in Syria, Alaridi was first introduced to the culinary world by watching his mother cook their family meals from scratch and over open fire. Growing up in a household that prioritized whole foods laid the foundation for Alaridi’s culinary ethos of using the freshest ingredients and preparing them in ways that heighten their flavors.
At the early age of fourteen, Alaridi stepped into his first professional role at Bawabet Dimashq, the largest restaurant in the world capable of serving over 6,000 people at one time. What started as a passion quickly transitioned into a career as he developed his culinary skills while learning how to efficiently operate a massive establishment. After three years, Alaridi decided it was time for a change and moved to Nicosia, Cyprus to continue to pursue his passion in hospitality. In 2011, he joined Faloremo Trading as the Italian Executive Chef. During his time with the catering company, Alardi traveled all throughout Europe learning a variety of cooking techniques and cuisines. With an emphasis on Italian fare, Alaridi spent over a year training in Sicily learning how to make pasta from scratch as well as other authentic Italian cooking styles and dishes.
In 2015, he took his globally-inspired culinary talents to the United States and moved to Minneapolis to take the Head Chef role at Loring Kitchen & Bar. Later that year, he joined Thomas Reese Olive Oil & Bistro as Executive Chef and Manager. It was here where Alaridi’s leadership skills blossomed as he oversaw a team while developing a menu featuring housemade pasta and over 64 infused olive oils. In November 2016, Alaridi joined Radisson Hotels as the Sous Chef for Fire Lake Grill House in Bloomington, MN. Alaridi spent the next six years with Radisson Hotels opening restaurant concepts throughout the Midwest as well as overseeing a variety of fine dining and banquet operations.
Adam Terhune is the Chef de Cuisine for Commons Club, the brand’s flagship restaurant concept, at Virgin Hotels Nashville. Born and raised in Kentucky, Terhune was first introduced to the culinary world by spending time with his grandmother in the kitchen and learning from her as they churned out classic Southern dishes like biscuits and gravy, oven roasted chicken, and other cherished family recipes. After spending the majority of his childhood in Kentucky, Terhune moved to St. Joseph, MI where he continued to hone his culinary talents and foster his passion for hospitality.
In June 2009, Terhune made the decision to move to Nashville, TN and jumped head first into the fast-growing food scene. Throughout his time in Music City, Terhune has worked under acclaimed chefs such as Julia Sulivan, Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Henrietta Red, and Julia Jaksic, Executive Chef and Owner of Cafe Roze and Roze Pony. In addition to these iconic establishments, Terhune also worked and trained at True Food Kitchen, a restaurant chain focused on the anti-inflammatory food pyramid by Andrew Weil. These experiences coupled with his love for fresh, home cooked meals, laid the foundation for Terhune’s culinary ethos of locally sourced ingredients, an evolving menu based on seasonality, and a variety of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free offerings.
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