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Delaware North Companies Chef Part of White House-Sponsored Healthy Food Symposium

 Executive Chef for The Ahwahnee, Percy Whatley, shares ideas on healthy eating with White House representative; serves 800-calories menu at National Park Partners Luncheon

 BUFFALO, N.Y. and WASHINGTON (Nov. 7, 2011)– Delaware North Companies chefs and executives were in the nation’s capital last week to participate in a symposium and host a luncheon – both of which were focused on healthy eating in national parks.

Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts chefs and executives shared ideas for creating healthy, sustainably sourced menus at national parks and other outdoor spaces with representatives from President Barack Obama’s Task Force on Childhood Obesity, first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative and the National Park Service (NPS). The symposium was held Nov. 1 at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.
Percy Whatley, western regional corporate chef and executive chef for the The Ahwahnee, a Yosemite National Park lodge that Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts operates for NPS, served as a guest panelist for the Nov. 1 symposium. Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts President Kevin Kelly and Vice President of Food and Beverage for Delaware North Companies Christian De Vos also represented the company, talking about the various challenges and accomplishments in promoting healthy food options in national parks.
“We all feel strongly about the importance of delicious and beautifully prepared meals that are healthy,” said Kelly. “For many reasons – this certainly among them – we look forward to continuing our tremendous partnerships with the National Park Service and the White House’s healthy food initiatives.”
The following day, Delaware North hosted the National Park Partners Luncheon at The Madison Hotel, also in the District of Columbia. Whatley, Delaware North Companies Corporate Chef Roland Henin and Paul Padua, executive pastry chef at The Ahwahnee, prepared a lunch for 125 attendees. The entire menu was less than 800 calories. Whatley, in collaboration with Tim Recher, executive chef at The Madison Hotel, sourced all ingredients from the District of Columbia, Maryland and the surrounding areas. Seafood used in the recipes meets the standards set by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.
“It is always exciting to provide our guests with healthy and high-quality foods,” said Whatley. “We are honored to share our expertise and share ideas with our country’s top decision makers.”
The luncheon menu consisted of the following items:
  • Autumn beet mosaic – frisee, chevre, citrus;
  • Grilled Australis barramundi fillet – Anson Mills faro, steamed Swiss chard, local mushrooms, roasted pumpkin, late harvest sweet corn-buttermilk sauce; or
  • Baked chickpea flan – eggplant “caviar,” mushroom dolmas, spiced turnip puree, arugula pesto, Riesling vinegar; and
  • Local apple-cranberry mille feuille – wheat bran crisps, honey-yogurt cream.
The menu follows the guidelines of Culinary Wellbeing, the name Delaware North has given to its healthy-foods initiative.

In addition to Yosemite, Delaware North operates visitor services in Sequoia National Park, Grand Canyon National Park and Yellowstone National Park.

Last week was not the first time company chefs traveled to the U.S. capital. Six Delaware North culinarians were invited to the White House in Washington, D.C., in June 2010 to participate in the launch of Michelle Obama’s “Chefs Move to Schools” program.