For more information, contact:
Mary Burich, Corporate Communications
Delaware North Companies
Ahwahnee chef set to compete for spot at 2009 Bocuse d'Or International
BUFFALO, N.Y. (August 12, 2008) - Percy Whatley, an executive chef with Delaware North Companies, is a semifinalist for the U.S. team that will compete in the upcoming Bocuse d'Or contest. Whatley, the lead chef for The Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park, will go to Orlando, Fla., in September to compete against seven other chefs for the opportunity to represent the United States in Lyon, France, in January. Although not the oldest of the international culinary competitions, the Bocuse d'Or is considered by many to be the most rigorous.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to compete against some of the most talented chefs in the country and possibly represent the United States at the Bocuse d'Or," said Whatley. "I have been working throughout my career to advance to this level. "
In his current role with Delaware North, Whatley oversees all culinary operations at The Ahwahnee, Yosemite's a four-diamond property that makes frequent appearances on lists of Americans' favorite resorts. He has earned ProChef Level III and certified executive chef certifications and oversees high-profile events such as the Bracebridge dinner, Chefs' Holidays and Vintners' Holidays.
Should Whatley be selected to represent the United States at the Bocuse d'Or, he will be coached by a longtime friend, mentor and colleague. Roland Henin, Delaware North's corporate chef and chief culinary ambassador, is coaching the U.S. team.
"It is an honor to be named the coach of such a prestigious team," stated Henin. "I am thrilled that Chef Percy has been selected as a semifinalist and look forward to working with all of the talented chefs involved with this event."
Henin will work with world-renowned chefs Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller to select the team that will represent the United States. Boulud and Keller are chairman and president, respectively, of the Bocuse d'Or U.S. committee.
The United States has never captured the gold medal at the Bocuse d'Or, but Boulud and Keller are hoping that will soon change. For five years in the early '90s, Henin coached the American Culinary Federation Culinary Olympic team that brought the Culinary World Cup home to the United States. He is currently coaching five Delaware North chefs who will compete in the 2008 Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany, this October.
Whatley and the other semifinalists will meet in New York City to receive a competition overview and guidelines. They will then have almost two months to prepare for the competition in Orlando. Whatley has named Chef de Partie Joshua Johnson as his commis. Like Whatley, Johnson is employed by Delaware North.
The Bocuse d'Or requires chefs to be excellent in technique, flavor, taste, texture, sophistication, harmony of ingredients, originality and presentation. The competition is held in a stadium-style venue in front of an audience. Teams from more than 20 countries participate.
About Delaware North Companies
Delaware North Companies is one of the world's leading hospitality and food service providers. Its family of companies includes Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment, Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services, Delaware North Companies Sportservice, Delaware North Companies International and Delaware North Companies Boston, owner of TD Banknorth Garden. Delaware North Companies is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States with revenues exceeding $2 billion annually and 40,000 associates serving half a billion customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. For more information, visit www.DelawareNorth.com.