Polished Palate Biography

THOMAS (MAC) MCFARLAND GREGORY III

 

Master Mixologist; Certified Advanced Sommelier; Judge, Speaker and

Beverage Writer

Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Director of Food and Beverage, North America

Mac Gregory is a master mixologist, certified advanced sommelier, speaker, educator, columnist, beverage consultant and competition judge. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, but raised on the West Coast, Mac earned a degree in business from Arizona State University. He began his career in the hospitality industry in 1989 with Club Med Hotels and Resorts International. A 20-year veteran of the hotel/resort and beverage industry, he currently oversees Starwood Hotels & Resorts Food and Beverage Franchise Operations for North America just having completed four years at the world-renowned AAA Five Diamond Phoenician resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, as director of food and beverage.

At Club Med, Mac worked as a mixologist, beverage director and, eventually, corporate paymaster, until 1993. He then joined Hyatt Regency Hotels and Resorts Corporation, where he held the following positions: mixologist, executive steward, banquet manager, general manager of the Golden Swan fine dining restaurant, general manager of the 727 Pine fine dining restaurant, beverage director, advanced sommelier, corporate officer of new builds/acquisitions, executive assistant general manager/assistant director of food and beverage, executive assistant general manager/director of operations and executive assistant general manager/director of food and beverage.

Mac has been the speaker and director of more than 350 winemaker specialty dinners and the moderator and host for numerous food and beverage seminars. A certified food and beverage educator, he serves as a corporate food and beverage trainer for Starwood Hotels and Resorts. He has established personal relationships with the finest wine producers, master brewers, master distillers and food and beverage specialists in the world. In 2004, he hosted a tasting and education seminar on the production and consumption of the world’s most exclusive tequilas at the Telluride Golf and Ski club; followed by a wine symposium and tasting for the ICPA Seattle convention,where he conducted two 400-person wine seminars focusing on "Wines of the World.” That same year, Mac hosted 26 of America’s elite businessmen and women for a private wine tasting at Dale Chihuly’s world-famous glass studio and residence, where the top 10 most sought-after wines in America were showcased. In 2005, he was chosen as one of four judges to select the No. 1 wine in Monterey County from a field of 161 wines for the Monterey County Wine Commission and Wine Spectator magazine. He is also an eight-time selection as guest sommelier for the prestigious Masters of Food and Wine in Carmel, California.. In 2007, Mac was honored with a lifetime appointment as judge of the San Francisco World Spirit Competition and Spirit of Mexico Competitions. In 2009, he earned the Cheers Innovator of the Year Award and served as a keynote speaker for both the 2009 and 2010 Cheers Beverage Conference. In 2009, Mac was named Top Mixologist by The Arizona Republic newspaper for his performance in the exclusive Devoured mixology contest. In 2010, Mac was selected as a judge for the Woodford Reserve mixology contest and World Spirit Competition Arizona. Most recently, he was honored as one of North America’s Top 25 Mixologists by Bacardi International, attending its exclusive mixology summit in South Beach, Fla.

Since joining The Phoenician in 2007, Mac has introduced four new outlets: Grape &Grain, Il Terrazzo, Relish Burger Bistro and J&G Steakhouse – each of which has received numerous accolades and awards.

In 2010, he was appointed director overseeing Starwood Hotels and Resorts’ corporate beverage procurement program for the state of Arizona, leading all 10 Starwood hotels and resorts in their purchasing directives.

Today, Mac holds the copyright to 17 beverage recipes and has created numerous liquors with his private recipes. He is a published mixologist in national and international publications including Cheers, Beverage Analyst, The Tasting Panel, Beverage Journal, Santé, Food Art, Hotel F&B Executive, Monterey Herald, The Seattle Times, Arizona Republic, Bartender Magazine, Lodging, 944, Nightclub & Bar, Market Watch, Wine Spectator and Robert Plotkin’s BarMedia. Sauza Tequila has published his recipes in “Toma Margaritas: The Original Guide to Margaritas and Tequila.”

In addition to his original drinks and liquors, Mac has formulated the concepts for numerous new bars and lounges for Club Med, Hyatt Regency and Starwood Hotels and Resorts: Waterfall Juice Bar -- juicing organic fruits and vegetables to order; Margarita & Martini Bar -- featuring the most exclusive tequilas, vodkas and gins; Discover Bloody Mary Bar -- the guest-interactive Bloody Mary Bar; Mini Champagne Bar - showcasing miniature personalized Champagne bottles from the Champagne châteaux of Piper Heidsieck, Pommery and Perrier Jouet; Ice Martini Bar -- utilizing ice to create the bar itself, as well as “ice slides” to properly chill Martinis; the world-famous Liquor Infusion Bar -- boasting liquors enhanced with his own proprietary recipes of organic fruits and vegetables; Bellini Bar -- featuring Santa Margherita Prosecco and fresh muddled fruit purees; and Muddled Mojito Bar -- featuring Cruzan Rum and macerated fresh vegetables and fruits produced in their own juices.

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October 13, 2011

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