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

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Opening Choctaw Casino

March 29, 2010

One of the best things about working for Delaware North Companies is it allows me to prepare food in all different kitchens. One week I might be in Yosemite National Park and then the next I might be at the baseball all-star game. There are so many different venues.

Last month, I had the chance to travel to Choctaw Casino in Durant, Oklahoma. While Delaware North operates at several casinos around the U.S., I haven’t worked at them a ton. I’d say the one I’d been at most over my career is Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack in West Virginia.

Regardless, I was impressed with Choctaw Casino. It is an incredible place. I couldn’t believe the offerings the casino has from the perspectives of gaming, lodging and of course, cooking. Honestly, the casino has one of the most useful cooking areas I’ve seen. I was blown away.

The reason I had traveled to Choctaw Casino was to help with its grand opening. Delaware North’s Gaming Hospitality Group is operating all the food and beverage at the casino. Already, the company has unveiled several restaurants and hired a 270-person staff.

As you’d expect, the casino had several events and a huge grand opening celebration planned for the first week. To handle all the cooking, we brought in several of our best chefs to assist. It took an incredible team effort, but we prepared some delicious food for thousands of people over six days. There mouths were watering, as you’d say.

I have a good feeling the people who visit Choctaw Casino will get used to great food. Delaware North’s Executive Chef, Christopher Tunnell, impressed me a great deal. It was the first time I’d worked with him and my initial reaction is that he works very, very hard.

We worked all day and around the clock to prepare the food for the grand opening events. Finally, after the last big party, we wrapped up around midnight. I needed to get sleep to catch my early flight. When I left the kitchen to go to my hotel room, Tunnell was still there. Seven hours later, when I stopped down to grab a quick breakfast, Tunnell was already back and hard at work. I was very impressed.

All in all, I’d call the grand opening at Choctaw Casino a huge success. I look forward to heading back there someday. Hopefully, several of you will all visit there too. It is a beautiful casino. If you do make it there for a visit, don’t forget to check out the kitchen.

Thank you. I’ll blog again soon.

 In Good Cooking Always,

 Chef Roland Henin, CMC