Chef & Staff Profiles

Meet our Executive Sous Chef Kyle Crenshaw. Kyle is the newest member of the JW Marriott Starr Pass culinary team and has had a love for the culinary arts from an early age.

David Fransua, Executive Chef

JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort’s newest Executive Chef, David Fransua, took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down with us for a quick Q&A. During his 17 year career with Marriott, he has worked for multiple award winning properties, and he doesn’t see that changing anytime soon. Beginning as a line cook and working his way up to Executive Chef, he is excited to start his journey here with us at Starr Pass.

Originally from Denver, David encountered both-the bustling city scenic mountain areas of Colorado. Growing up with a French father and a Mexican mother, he experienced a mixture of cultures and food variety from an early age. His first memory of cooking came from his father making him eggs for breakfast, where he discovered it was quite different from the way his mom made them. (His mother made them scrambled well done; whereas his father’s eggs were runny.) As this was not a pleasant experience, eight year old David struck a deal with his father. Since he was grounded at the time, he agreed to eat the eggs if he was allowed to go out and play. Today, David now cooks eggs for his children, just the way his father made for him; runny. He gives credit to his father for giving him the creativity and tenacity that he embodies in the kitchen today.

David is unique from many of his peers in the field today in that he received all of his training on the job, as opposed to Culinary School. “The Kitchen is your class room, you can learn more here than they can ever teach you in school”. At a time in his life when he was struggling with the decision of whether or not he was to attend Culinary school, he recalls being at a Chinese restaurant with his now, wife. As money was tight, the dream of Culinary School was not looking realistic. As if it were fate, he then opened his fortune cookie which stated: Discipline is a refinement fire, in which ability becomes talent. David and his wife took this as a sign that he would need to create his own success through experience, as opposed to traditional training in a classroom. He is an inspiration to many young cooks in the business, symbolizing that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.

We are excited to announce David as our new Executive Chef at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa, and look forward to what he can bring to both our Resort, and the Tucson community.

What is your favorite meal?

“My mom’s chicken mole and Mexican rice. This meal might not be the most appetizing dish, but has always been a meal served during special occasions and it is something I fondly associate with my family celebrations.”

What is the most essential kitchen Item?

“Salt. It can make or break a dish. You have to know when and when not to use it”

If you were a protein?

“Pork Belly. Pork belly is really cool right now, and I want to be cool.”

Chris Johnson, Senior Pastry Chef

Chris found his way into the baking world a bit differently than most, as a young man graduating high school in Erie, Pennsylvania he didn’t have the funds for college so he found himself joining the Air Force to earn some extra income. He would soon find himself in the baking department at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona and discovered he just had a “knack” for baking. He would go on to travel and serve in the pastry departments at Air Force bases from Belgium to Wyoming, all while receiving awards for his newly found talent along the way. Completing his four years of service and reflecting on his great time in Southern, Arizona, Chris ended up making the decision to return to Tucson to continue his culinary venture.His first civilian baker position began at Loews Ventena Canyon Resort where he remained for 16 years, eventually becoming their Executive Pastry Chef. Chris would ultimately find his home at JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and today leads their pastry team while still maintaining his ties to the community by teaching a baking class at Pima Community College in his spare time. He also has continued his education in international specialty classes in places as far as France & Canada. We thank Chris for his dedication to JW Marriott and value the high level of service he continues to bring to the team.

What is your specialty?

“I don’t necessarily have a specialty, however I like to come up with unique things for our guests . For instance, if someone likes a snickers bar the team and I dissect those elements to create a dish that will maintain those same tasty ingredients.

What is your current favorite meal?

“Moms apple pie”.

Crafted. Local. Authentic.

Kyle Crenshaw, Executive Sous Chef

Kyle brings an abundance of experience from within the Marriott Brand. He has previously held positions as Sous Chef for Marriott Marquis San Francisco, Marriott Denver City Center, and the prestigious JW Marriott Desert Springs in California.

As we learn about Kyle’s history and inspirations it is evident that he adopted an ambitious spirit early in life. He recalls “I had the option to leave home early after class my senior year or explore a journey in the culinary arts at a vocational school” and of course he chose the latter. His passion for cooking became very apparent throughout his schooling and even earned a scholarship towards his bachelor’s degree through winning a Culinary Competition in New York. What he enjoys most about the culinary field is the instant gratification from seeing his work come to fruition. He explains, “You’ll know if you produced a good product as soon as you see the expression on a guest’s face where as other careers it might take you weeks or months to see the fruits of your labor”. The team here is excited to have Kyle join us as he continues to grow in his profession and develop our restaurants.

What’s your current favorite meal?
“Pork Filipino Adobo which is pork, soy sauce, vinegar, bay leaf, and pepper corn cooked together and served over rice. It’s not really fine dining, but has a lot of flavor. My Wife is Filipino and we both enjoy exploring a lot of exotic cuisines together like Thai and Vietnamese food”

What is your specialty?
“I wouldn’t say I have a specialty, but I like very well executed dishes. Typical I like to let the ingredients speak for themselves, not oversaturating the dish with flavor. If you have the good products you don’t to do 10 different ingredients.”

If you were a protein?
“I would say a Pig, it’s versatile and has a lot of variety just like me.”