Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, South Walton
A native of Maryland, Executive Chef Dan Vargo was first introduced to the culinary world along Florida’s Emerald Coast, where he discovered and began to pursue his passion for food. Now a 16-year veteran of the culinary industry, he has traveled the world, exploring kitchens and cultures, as he carefully honed his skills and developed his signature style.
Chef Vargo first joined the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa team in April 2012 as an Executive Chef at Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood, the resort’s award-winning, AAA Four-Diamond restaurant. Before joining Hilton Sandestin Beach, Chef Vargo dedicated eight years to the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida, where he held a number of positions, including Executive Sous Chef and Restaurant Chef. He also spent two years as Executive Sous Chef at The Boathouse Club in Martha’s Vineyard.
Named Executive Chef of the 602-room beachfront resort in February 2017, Chef Vargo skillfully blends Baltimore's traditional and historical influences, Martha’s Vineyard’s emphasis on organic produce and seasonal seafood, and the Ritz-Carlton’s world-class standards for fine dining and excellence in service into the Hilton Sandestin Beach experience.
Graduating with honors from Baltimore International College in 2002, Chef Vargo earned a prestigious internship through The American Studies Institute, taking him to The Park Hotel in Ireland. Chef Vargo was also selected as a member of Ritz-Carlton’s domestic and international recruiting team sent to South Africa and Peru, where he cooked for orphanages and shelters.
Since joining Hilton Sandestin Beach, Chef Vargo has been featured on Emeril’s Florida, Atlanta Eats and Golf Channel’s Morning Drive with Matt Ginella, and at events such as BlogHer Food in Miami, Music City Food & Wine Festival in Nashville, and Boudin, Bourbon and Beer in New Orleans. Chef Vargo was also selected as the People’s Choice winner in the 2013 inaugural 30A Throwdown competition and Critics Choice winner in the 2014 competition.