BAHAMAS NATIVE, UH GRAD SATISFYING SUPER
With Head Start at the New Hilton Americas-Houston,
Executive Sous Chef Riley Scores Culinary Points
HOUSTON, Jan. 28, 2004 – Proudly dressed from head to toe
in culinary attire replete with toque, 30-year-old Malik Riley is
one of Houston’s newest executive sous chefs.
The recent University of Houston graduate is second in command
of the culinary division at the Hilton
Americas-Houston, the city’s latest addition to its downtown
Riley received his master’s degree of hospitality management
from the UH Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management
in December. He oversees three restaurants and a banquet department
1,200-room hotel already booked for the Super Bowl. But even this
daunting task does not ruffle the feathers of a chef who has already
served the likes of former President Bill Clinton and actor Sean
Born into a family of seven in the Bahamas, Riley became familiar
with food preparation and flair at an early age.
“Dinner was always a big event growing up,” Riley recalled.
“We each would play a part in preparing for the meal of the
day. There was always lots of cooking and lots of food.”
In high school, Riley fed his hunger for the visual arts and quickly
realized that he could transfer his skills from the paintbrush to
the canvas of the kitchen.
“I never quit being an artist,” Riley said. “I’m
just using a different medium. Food has become my creative outlet.”
Riley’s instruction in culinary studies began at the College
of the Bahamas School of Hospitality & Tourism Studies and later
at Johnson & Wales University, where he earned a bachelor’s
of science degree in culinary arts.
“I first applied my culinary talents at the Atlantis resort
Paradise Island Bahamas as an apprentice chef. After the completion
of my bachelor’s degree, I began working at the Five Diamond
Hilton at the Short Hills Resort in New Jersey.”
During his employment in Short Hills, he progressed from a culinary
intern to assistant restaurant chef of the Terrace Restaurant (Four
Diamond), managing a staff of 15. With four years of experience
under his apron, Riley returned to his native Bahamas to accept
a position with the U.S. Embassy as personal executive chef for
the Ambassador to the Bahamas.
“Being back in my home country allowed me the tremendous
opportunity to exercise my creativity, using local ingredients in
unique ways,” Riley said. “I was able to meet and serve
meals to governmental heads of states from all around the world,
in addition to public figures, including Maya Angelou, former Houston
Mayor Lee Brown and many other high-profile individuals.
Riley enjoyed being in the culinary spotlight but wanted more for
his career. In 2001, he decided to continue his university studies
at UH and pursue his master’s degree.
“Many people were shocked that I decided to leave such a
high-profile job,” Riley said. “It was a difficult decision,
but some day I hope to own and manage my own resort. With dreams
on that scale one should absolutely take risks and never stop learning.
The University of Houston fit my needs and helped me hone my skills.”
With a head start in the largest Hilton hotel constructed in 20
years, Riley continues to develop his leadership skills and impress
his guests with his savory concepts.
Ginger, lemon grass and cilantro have always been a few of Riley’s
favorites. His current cooking style combines the flavors of Asian,
South American and French cuisines. But he never leaves his island
sensibilities too far behind as he continues to tempt guests with
flavors from the Caribbean and a taste of his homeland.
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research
and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers
and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate,
civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university
in the country stands at the forefront of education, research and
service with more than 35,000 students.
For more information about UH visit the universitys Newsroom at www.uh.edu/admin/media/newsroom.