Delaware North Chefs at James Beard Event.

August 20, 2010

Hello All,

I am busy catching planes and jumping in-and-out of kitchens, so I only have time for a quick post. I wanted to take some time to tell you about how Delaware North’s chefs took part in the recent James Beard Foundation event.

Delaware North chefs with Martha Stewart.

For those who don’t know much about James Beard, he was a pioneer in the culinary world who changed our profession and the way we eat. He passed away in 1985 but his legacy and lessons live on through his foundation. It is one of the most respected culinary organizations in the world and it is an absolute honor to be selected to cook, prepare food or even wash dishes at one of the Foundation’s premier events.

I am very proud to say that our Chef from The Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park Percy Whatley and his Sous Chef John Adams, along with Sous Chefs Beth Brown and Jeff Wheaton from New Meadowlands Stadium, recently took part in the Foundation’s annual summer gala in the Hamptons called Chefs & Champagne. They were four of just 30 chefs from across the country to take part. They should be very proud of their work.

I have not had much time to speak with them since the event, but fortunately Martha Stewart attended and blogged about it. You can read what she thought of the event and see photos at this link.

Alright, I need to keep moving. I will blog again soon.

In Good Cooking Always,

Chef Roland Henin, CMC


Vote for Sequoia and Grand Canyon

August 9, 2010

Hello All,

I only have time for a quick post today so I will be snappy. One of my colleagues at Delaware North recently informed me about the Pepsi Refresh Project, which is awarding grants to people who have ideas about changing the world. Anyone can vote on which ideas and projects are the best.

I encourage you to visit the voting page and read about all the wonderful ideas. Don’t feel bad if you really like the Sequoia Parks Foundation’s idea to enhance the environmental stewardship and preservation of Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. The foundation is seeking a grant that would allow it to hire two additional rangers for environmental outreach program called Rangers in the Classroom. Through this program, the rangers would visit elementary schools and raise students’ appreciation of their national parks and environment. You can vote by following this link.

I think it’s a very good idea. I hope you take time to vote.

Now, back to work.

In Good Cooking Always,

Chef Roland Henin, CMC

Chef Certification Is Valuable.

July 26, 2010

Dear All,

I would say the best place for me to do some thinking (other than the kitchen) is when I get to spend a week at home. I’ve been able to catch up on mail and really think about what our company is doing from a culinary perspective. We have a tough job as chefs, but I think Delaware North does a great job at the end of the day.

One of best things our company does is require all chefs to be professionally certified. Anyone can wear an apron that says, “Kiss Me I’m a Chef.” It’s another thing to earn it through a professional organization like the American Culinary Federation. There are many different levels of certification: Certified Sous Chef, Certified Pastry Chef and my favorite – Certified Master Chef, just to name a few. Read about how they are different here.

It’s not easy to earn certification. Chefs must pass tough tests and prepare for months in advance. One of my biggest jobs as Corporate Chef is helping our “up and comers” get ready for these tests.

In the end, it’s worth it. It helps these chefs professionally and it goes a long way to ensure our culinary teams are preparing the best food possible. To my knowledge, we’re the only company that requires all our chefs to earn these certifications.

It’s back to the road next week. I will blog again soon.

In Good Cooking Always,

Chef Roland Henin, CMC

Massachusetts Avenue Project in Buffalo.

July 23, 2010

I am at home for a few days cleaning off my desk, checking off my to do list and planning my schedule for more trips around the country. It’s going to be a busy end to summer as I plan to work with many chefs on their CCC testing, begin preparing for the Culinary Olympics in 2012 and continue to oversee our day-to-day operations.

There is one event in early August I am very excited about. Delaware North Companies has begun a partnership with the Massachusetts Avenue Project and its Growing Green Program in Buffalo, NY. This program helps local school kids learn about healthy food and how they can help the Buffalo community through farming, healthy nutrition, and taking care of their environment. This is a very important issue and I’m proud of our company for teaming up with it. Kids need to learn the importance of eating healthy. It’s an important part of our lives.

Read the rest of this entry »

Going to Culinary Olympics 2012!

July 20, 2010
Hello All,

I am proud to tell everyone that Delaware North Companies has decided to send a team to the 2012 Culinary 2008 Culinary OlympicsOlympics. Those of you who are familiar with the company may remember our first trip to the international culinary competition last year. I helped coach a team of chefs including Kevin Doherty, Scott Green, Tab Daulton, Ambarish Lulay and Rick Ortiz to a strong showing. We collected two silver medals, a bronze medal and two diplomas – we proved we had the “chops” to belong. You can read all the details and stories about our last trip here.

I am very excited that I’ll be able to help another team of our chefs in 2012. We’re currently searching for the best and the brightest to be on our Culinary Olympics team. While the actual competition requires about a week in Erfurt, Germany – the training a chef must work through requires weeks and months. It is a long haul and only the strong chefs should take the challenge. I have coached chefs in several culinary competitions and I can tell you that the Culinary Olympics is one of the most grueling. Whoever is on our final team will work through the hardest culinary challenge of their lives. But, this is what makes us better chefs. That is why we do it.

I’m definitely excited to be going back to the Culinary Olympics. I live for the opportunity to work with new chefs and help them grow. I am very proud Delaware North has such a strong commitment to the culinary arts. Sending a team requires a big commitment of time, money and resources. It will impact many, many people on the culinary side of our business. But, in the end, we will be better chefs and a better company for doing it. Food is the backbone of our business. And I’m proud that we spend so much time and energy investing in the people who make it great – our chefs.

Alright, back to work, back to work.

In Good Cooking Always,

Chef Roland Henin, CMC

Delaware North and the NBA Finals.

July 7, 2010

Hello All,

I recently spoke with Delaware North’s Sportservice Regional Executive Chef Kevin Doherty aboTD Garden Exteriorut everything that happened at TD Garden during the NBA Finals. I know most people were worried about what was happening on the courts, but our team had much business in the kitchen.

Chef Kevin told me before each of the games, our Sportservice chefs prepared hors d’oeuvres for an NBA VIP party in Banners, one of the restaurants in the arena. Our chefs handled client requests for everything from tofu dogs in a blanket to Boston-themed desserts. According to Chef Kevin, one of the league’s highest ranking officials said “it was the best VIP party food ever.” However, he said he could tell the food was a big hit because of how much the attendees enjoyed it.

Chef Kevin Doherty @ TD GardenI didn’t get much more information other than our food and beverage operations were a big hit. I know Chef Kevin and his team made some delicious desserts including Boston cream pie, toll-house cookies and molasses hermitas.
I will admit I don’t know much about basketball, but I do wish I could have made it to TD Garden during the NBA Finals.

Anyway, back to work for me. I have some proposals and a trip to Milwaukee to work on over the next week.

In Good Cooking Always,

Chef Roland Henin, CMC

Stadiums, Sous Chefs and Shuttle Launches.

April 21, 2010
I can’t believe how time is flying. It seems like just yesterday I had posted a blog about my experiences at Choctaw Casino and now I look and it’s already been almost a month.

I have been so busy working for Delaware North Companies this past month. There is never a really “slow time” for our company, but it’s especially busy in spring, when our ballpark and national park operations are gearing up for exciting summers.

So what have I been doing? I’ve been in kitchens all around the country. About three weeks ago I helped Executive Chef Pastor Jiminez and his team as they did a pre-opening of the brand new Target Field, home to the Minnesota Twins. It is an incredible stadium and you can see how much hard work and energy went into its design. I was impressed with how organized our culinary team was in its first outing at the stadium. It doesn’t hurt that the kitchen facilities and space are plentiful and well-equipped. I know most fans probably won’t think about kitchen space when they watch the Twins play, but it’s the sign of a great ballpark to me.

Then I hopped a quick flight to Chicago where I spent a week guiding nine of Delaware North’s sous chefs from around the company through their certification testing. At Delaware North, we require all chefs to become certified. The training and testing is rigorous, and it challenges everyone. It was fun to watch how they progressed over the three days. I was proud of everyone.

Next, I assisted our team at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex as they accommodated everyone who came to see the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery in early April. It’s amazing to see a shuttle launch in person, and this was no exception. However, our crew worked more than 24 hours in a row to prepare all the food required for those who came to see the shuttle launch. We worked tirelessly, but hopefully it paid off. There is nothing like knowing that you enhanced everyone’s experience with delicious food.

 Then, I did grab a day or two of rest before it was back to Target Field for Opening Day. You wouldn’t believe how many chefs it takes to execute all the food and beverage operations for a baseball stadium, let alone a grand opening, so I decided to show you in the picture below. It really was one of my favorite days as a chef. We worked so hard and so well as a team. Delaware North Companies Sportservice President Rick Abramson and Delaware North Companies Principal Jerry Jacobs Jr. were on hand and had nothing but good things to say. Those who know me know that I can be very demanding and I always have high expectation. I do say that the team at Target Field did incredible though. I give them a 98 out of a possible 100 rating, and I never give a 100. Bravo to everyone.

 That’s pretty much where the last month of my life has gone. I’d love to put together individual blogs on each event, and if I get time I will, but I wanted to give you quick look at my life.

 Now, I have to keep going with my busy schedule. I will blog again soon.

 In Good Cooking Always,

 Chef Roland G. Henin

The culinary team at Target Field.