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Culinary Corner: Luca Brunelle

Luca Brunelle, executive chef of the Delaware North-operated The Gideon Putnam in Saratoga Spa State Park, N.Y., was recently featured in the July issue of Flavor & the Menu magazine. In the piece, Brunelle shared some of his favorite high-impact flavors.

We caught up with Brunelle this week to learn more about his style and influences.

In five words or less, describe your food.

Seasonal, sustainable, tasty, eclectic, fun.

Who was your biggest cooking influence?

Certified Master Chef Dale Miller. I worked under his tutelage for more than five years at the venerable Jack’s Oyster House in Albany, N.Y. He was a great teacher, mentor and friend. He helped me to become a better chef, ACF culinary competitor and culinary manager. While working with Master Chef, I became a Certified Executive Chef and was part of many high-profile events, including hosting a dinner at the James Beard House.

Fill in the blank. If you weren’t a chef, you’d be…

An F-16 (or any jet) pilot or a racecar driver.

But, since you are a chef, what has been your favorite moment in a Delaware North kitchen (or in general with the company)?

Unfortunately, The Gideon Putnam had a catastrophic water main break in mid-January. We reopened May 1 with my fellow employees and Delaware North pouring all their resources to get us back up and running.

During the rebuild time, I was sent to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to be part of the culinary team for the influx of people seeing the Falcon Heavy Launch for the first time. I traveled to Estes Park for the Chef Summit and extended my stay to add in the 2018 Parks & Resorts Leadership Meeting.

I was also able to experience Patina 250 at the corporate headquarters and prepare the weekly executives lunch and see how Patina Restaurant Group operates. Lastly, I landed in Atlanta at SunTrust Park to help with Opening Day for the Atlanta Braves.

These have been some of my favorite moments to help where needed and network with fellow Delaware North culinarians, working other venues besides parks and resorts, as I continue my chef development visiting different parts of the country.