Delaware North recently completed its second of two American Culinary Federation (ACF) chef certifications at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, which is about 15 miles north of the company’s global headquarters in Buffalo, N.Y.
In all, 16 Delaware North chefs traveled from throughout the United States to Western New York during recent weeks to prepare for and complete chef de cuisine certification (March 17) and the certified sous chef test (March 24).
During the first week, the Delaware North chefs – Efren Gonzalez II, executive chef at Wuksachi Lodge in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon; Sheamus O'Rork, sous chef at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite; Derek Neighbor, sous chef at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida; Christopher Dore, executive sous chef at The Gideon Putnam in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Robert Gilbertson, sous chef at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite; and Brandon Bollenbacher, sous chef at John Muir Lodge in Kings Canyon National Park – worked with the culinary institute’s faculty and students in preparation for the exam.
The collaborative, continued education process continued last week as a group of 10 Delaware North chefs took to the culinary institute’s test kitchens.
Working toward the goal of certified sous chef were James Reyes (Wuksachi Lodge), Zachary McLaughlin (Kalaloch Lodge), Kevin Leibfred (MetLife Stadium), Edward Donnelly II (MetLife Stadium), Paul Johnson (Target Field), Kevin Proper (Yellowstone National Park), Keith Endres (Target Field), Nicholas Fredenburg (The Gideon Putnam), Philip Griffith (Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite) and Carl Corney (Shenandoah National Park).
During both weeks, Wednesday included a written test and Thursday culminated in a two-hour practical exam, in which the chefs had to demonstrate advanced cooking techniques to a team of ACF evaluators.
The experience certainly resonated with the students. In addition to the chefs aiming for certification, some of Delaware North’s top culinarians were on-hand, including Corporate Chef Roland Henin, Regional Executive Chef Pascal Beaute, Vice President of Food and Beverage Christian De Vos, and Gaming Divisional Chef Brian Sterner.
“Our students have really taken a lot away from this experience,” said Mark Mistriner, a professor and chair of the business and hospitality division at Niagara Falls Culinary Institute and Niagara County Community College.