I recently attended Delaware North Companies Food and Beverage Summit in Buffalo. It was a nice event that brought our company’s culinary minds together. During the event, our six regional chefs took part in a cooking challenge. They had to run through a mock grocery store and purchase items that would help them prepare delicious food in just an hour. I’ve asked them to share their thoughts on the challenge and the conference. Chef Chris Matta’s thoughts are below.
It was great and truly an honor to compete in the cooking competition. It’s not often you get to show off a little in front of all your peers and food and beverage managers. It was a fun event and I think all the chefs involved had a great time. I guess the only stressful part would be the anxiety of completely screwing up in front of everyone. It was very challenging to come up with the menu, shop and cook in front of everyone. I know for me it was an experience that I won’t soon forget.
Going around the show and thinking of what we could do as well as interacting with the vendors was a blast. Once the cooking started the nerves were in high gear but they were quickly extinguished when the working really started. My partner and I were waiting for the crowd to moan once we started to see if we had made a mistake. I was lucky to have picked a great partner in Chef Christopher “Scott” Tunnell. I think we made a good team. We were able to prepare a combination plate of Barramundi En Papiote and Flank Steak Chimichurri with Black Bean Puree. Once the cooking was done and the constant questions from the interviewer and Chef Paul was not watching the presentation and judging began. We did not win (Congrats to Chef James Major) but we didn’t feel like we lost either.
The Summit to me was a real eye opener in terms of it being the first time I had the opportunity to work with all of the Regional Chefs at once. It was one of the most fun times I have had in a kitchen in a long time. There were so many talented and truly skilled people there. We hung out together in small areas for many, many hours and it seemed like just minutes. The stories, lessons learned and the overall camaraderie is very rare. I am lucky to be able to work with such amazing and talented people that I can also call friends. I think the point was to tear down the boundaries or walls between the divisions and I think we accomplished that as well as cooked some awesome food. I just hope the attendees enjoyed the summit as much as we did.