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The Team

January 30, 2013 - By - 1 Comment

Culinary Team:
Executive Chef, Dean Thompson

A North Carolina native, Dean grew up in Cary, NC.  After Graduating from Cardinal Gibbons High School, he attended Johnson & Wales University Providence, RI, graduating in 2002.

While pursuing his degree, Dean worked at Mediterraneo Caffe’ located in the historic Federal Hill under Chef Gianfranco Campanella. Dean later worked for Chef Jules Ramos at Mills Tavern.  At the time, Mills Tavern was rated as one of the top 75 Hottest Tables, from Boston to Beijing, by the Conde Nast Traveler and Boston Globe.  In 2003, he made his way back to North Carolina where he worked at Hope Valley Country Club for several years where he earned the title of Sous Chef in 2005.

In 2008, he helped open Raleigh Renaissance as the Executive Sous Chef.  He was instrumental in the success and sustainability of the Hotel as well as Flights Restaurant.  He brings over 15 years of kitchen experience with knowledge of American and Italian cuisine.  Dean specializes in contemporary southern dishes, utilizing several local ingredients from cheese, meats, produce, eggs, and grains.   His pursuit of perfection and passion for great food is evident in each of his culinary creations.


Executive Sous Chef, Anthony Zinani

Anthony is a New England native who grew up in a family of butchers and bakers. His presence in kitchens at a young age created his passion for food.

While at Johnson & Wales, Anthony gained experience in several upscale Providence restaurants.  He later followed James Beard Award winning Chef Michael Kornic and Gino Bernardo, to open Nine Steak House and Belly Italiano, Palm Springs, California.  He continued his work for Nine Group in Las Vegas, NV as the opening crew at the Palms Casino 2.  In 2006, Anthony headed home. Afterward, he helped open the Westin Waterfront Hotel, in Boston, MA, as Sous Chef.  Anthony continued his culinary experience in Raleigh, NC in 2008, at Sullivan’s Steakhouse as Sous Chef.  Finally, Anthony made his way to the Renaissance Raleigh and Flights Restaurant, in July, 2012.

Anthony’s experience and hard work makes Flights Restaurant the local gem of Raleigh.  He specializes in bold, fresh flavors with classical techniques that are apparent in the dishes in Flights Restaurant.


Chef de Cuisine, Pamela Ballou

Pam is also a native of New England, and has had a passion for cooking since the age of 10.  Her earliest exposure to the commercial kitchen was at the Black Bear Inn in Bolton Valley, Vermont, where she cultivated a passion for sustainable cooking.  Family travels took her beyond Vermont to the shores of Cape Cod, where she created her own specialty food business serving local restaurants.  Further travels relocated her to Hong Kong where she was exposed to Asian cuisine and participated in classes in the kitchen of the Peninsula Hotel.  Upon relocation to America, she attended the New England Culinary Institute where she received her Bachelor’s Degree.  Pam has worked in several local Raleigh restaurants specializing in catering, and has also worked at the Wakefield TPC Country Club.   In 2011 she joined the staff of the Renaissance Raleigh Hotel, where she continues to pursue her passion for local, sustainable cooking using products indigenous to the area.