Walter Staib Bio

Walter Staib began his culinary experience in 1960 as an apprentice at the Hotel Post, a historic five-star hotel nestled in the Black Forest in Nagold, Germany. This location regularly entertained a very high profile clientele, frequented by the German Chancellor and German President, and even received Napoleon Bonaparte in the 1800’s. Still in operation today, this hotel is unique in that every item is a culinary masterpiece. Moreover, all ingredients are grown or raised on the premises, as the hotel has its own orchards, root cellar, gardens, etc. Walter Staib makes many references to the Hotel Post in the recent City Tavern cookbook, as the same type of freshness and preparation applies to the recreation of 18th century dishes prepared at the historic City Tavern in Philadelphia.

In 1963 Walter Staib moved on to the five-star Sommerberg Hotel in Bad Wildbad. Next to Baden Baden, Bad Wildbad is the most prominent spa city in the Black Forest. Staib was on the opening team of the new Sommerberg Hotel, which catered to the haute bourgeoisie of European and Eastern European society. While at the Sommerberg Hotel he worked under several prominent chefs of the time, enabling him to further refine his culinary expertise.

Leaving the Sommerberg Hotel in 1965, Staib spent the next four winters working at the Chessery in Gstaad, Switzerland, which was owned by Aga Khan at that time. The Chessery was the quintessential playground of the rich and famous, hosting movie stars such as Brigitte Bardot, David Niven, and Elizabeth Taylor, to name a few. Major politicians and royalty, namely the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, also frequented the Chessery. As the Chef de Grille, Staib catered directly to this broad spectrum of luminaries, becoming familiar with their every want and need. During the summer he worked at the Hotel Belvedere in Interlacken, Switzerland, where he catered to the same type of clientele.

In 1967, Staib also took a position as Executive Sous Chef at the five-star Casa Berno in Ascona, Switzerland, which lies right near the Italian border. Owned by the Vatican, this luxurious resort, which graces the shores of Lago Maggiore, specialized in the haute cuisine and haute service expected to satisfy the Pope and other high Vatican officials and dignitaries.

Lured away from Europe’s finest hotels and resorts by the luxurious, private Mid America Club in Chicago, Staib made his American culinary début in 1969. By 1972, after having held several key culinary positions at the Mid America Club, he was hired as the youngest Executive Chef in the highest volume Hyatt Regency in the entire United States. Staib earned a great deal of culinary notoriety in this position. His own weekly newspaper column and several regular appearances on culinary television programs kept him in the spotlight for four years.

In 1975, Staib went abroad again, hired away from the Hyatt Regency by the Hotel Quatro Rodas, part of Editorio Abril, as Corporate Director of Food & Beverage and Director of Concept Development. Based in São Paulo, Brazil he drove the implementation of several five-star resorts located throughout Brazil, opening major hotels in San Luís, Recife and Salvador (Bahía). Although he enjoyed many successes in Brazil he returned to the United States in mid-1977.

Having returned to the United States in late 1977 Staib went to work for Dunfy Hotels (later OMNI Hotels). During his tenure as Corporate Director of Food & Beverage Operations he oversaw the posh four-star Hotel Commodore in Paris, France, the elegant Tara Hotel in Kensington, London, England, and the luxurious Park Lane Hotel in Picadilly Square, London, England.

Subsequently relocating to Philadelphia in 1979, Staib became President of Davre’s, owned by ARA Leisure Services, Inc., then the most luxurious restaurant company in the world.

Some of the most prominent restaurants that fell under Staib’s discriminating eye included the 95th in Chicago, the Carnelian in San Francisco, the American Restaurant in Kansas City and the Signature Restaurant in Hartford. During that time Staib worked side by side with many of the finest Michelin two- and three-star chefs.

In 1982, after catering the races in Saratoga, Walter Staib rejoined Dunfy Hotels, which became OMNI Hotels later that year. As Senior Vice President of Food & Beverage Operations he opened numerous four- and five-star hotels, resorts and restaurants throughout the United States and was directly responsible for chain-wide catering services.

In 1989 his entrepreneurial spirit led to the creation of Concepts By Staib, Ltd., a hospitality consulting firm with an emphasis on turnkey restaurant concept development. Concepts By Staib, Ltd. has conceptualized and implemented both free-standing and hotel restaurants all over the world including the Radisson Lazurnaya in Sochi, Russia, the Radisson Moscow, the Radisson in Kamala Bay, Thailand, the Rôtisserie in St. Martin, Ciboney in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Windjammer in St. Lucia and Sandy Lane in Barbados.

Walter Staib has engaged in restaurant concept development with OMNI Hotels®, Sandals/Beaches Resorts International, Regent International Hotels, Radisson Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Outrigger Lodging Services, Paramount Communication, Holiday Inn Worldwide, Crown Plaza Worldwide, the Kahler Hotel, Boykin Management Group and Don Shula’s Steakhouses. In the past ten years he has successfully conceptualized and implemented more than 300 restaurants worldwide.

Mr. Staib’s passion for culinary excellence has earned him numerous awards, among them the prestigious Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole de la République Française in recognition of his dedication to the advancement of the restaurant industry and the image of France world-wide.

In 1986, Mr. Staib was appointed Commandeur by the Association Internationale des Maîtres Conseils en Gastronomie Française and in 1987 was awarded the Silver Plate, the hospitality and restaurant industry’s highest honor. In 1995, he was honored as the first inductee into the Caribbean Culinary Hall of Fame in recognition of his pioneering work founding the Caribbean Culinary Federation. Mr. Staib serves as Ambassador to the Culinary Institute of America and in 1996, was also appointed the First Culinary Ambassador to the City of Philadelphia.