Downtown hotel appoints executive chef


Chris Madsen. Courtesy Amway Grand Plaza

A downtown Grand Rapids hotel has named a new executive chef who will oversee all of its culinary operations.

The Amway Grand Plaza said yesterday it promoted Chris Madsen to the role.

Madsen will oversee all of the hotel’s food and beverage venues, catering services and restaurants, including Cygnus27, The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck, The Kitchen Counter by Wolfgang Puck, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and GP Sports.

Josef Huber, Amway Grand Plaza corporate executive chef, said Madsen brings a “wide range of experience and homegrown flavors to our menus around the hotel.”

“His leadership is a strong asset to our team, and we are excited to have him on board,” Huber said.

Madsen’s style

Madsen is a self-taught chef with no formal culinary training. He mastered his skills by working in kitchens since he was a teen and sought out culinary mentors to learn the correct techniques.

He uses his family traditions of pickling and canning to serve foods that Michigan is “famous for” year-round.

He also experiments with exotic ingredients in creating dishes and changes menus to incorporate fresh local and seasonal produce.

Madsen’s background

Madsen has been with AHC+Hospitality for 20 years. The hospitality company also owns and operates the JW Marriott Grand Rapids and the Downtown Courtyard by Marriott in Grand Rapids.

Most recently, he served as executive chef at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids, overseeing all culinary operations, including catering, in-room dining and the restaurant

Madsen first joined AHC+Hospitality as chef de cuisine at Amway Grand Plaza’s former Bentham’s Riverfront Restaurant and then worked at the hotel’s four-diamond Cygnus27.

He’s also led The 1913 Room, a former restaurant at Amway Grand Plaza, which the hospitality company said achieved Michigan’s first and only AAA Five-Diamond award under his leadership, and he opened its replacement, Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

Over the course of his career, Madsen has been personally recognized with numerous accolades, including “Best Chef” from Grand Rapids Magazine.

He is also a bronze-medal winner in the American Culinary Federation, or ACF, cooking competition and has been a featured chef in ACF's Seven Courses of Gold dinners for three consecutive years.

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