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

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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.