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Culinary Q&A: Dan Thorington

We recently caught up with Dan Thorington, Delaware North’s executive chef at Top of the Falls restaurant in Niagara Falls State Park. 

In five words or less, describe your food.
Simple, comforting, and eye-appealing.

Who was your biggest cooking influence?
This one is tough because there are a couple of them, but if I have to choose one then it would have to my mother, as cliché as that may sound. I’ve had a lot of people who’ve been influences in my life, too many to count, but my mother is the earliest and fondest memories I have of being in a kitchen and being around food. Whether it was her making dinner every night for the family or taking my sister and I to the farmer’s market to buy baskets of fresh produce in the summer time, or all the baking she’d do around the holidays. She was the one who got me started and interested before I ever knew how to hold a knife or turn on an oven.

Fill in the blank. If you weren’t a chef, you’d be…
Another hard question because I could never see myself being anywhere but in a kitchen. It’s the one place that I’ve always felt the most comfortable and able to fully be myself. However, if I wasn’t a chef, I would be involved in sports somehow, whether as a coach, trainer or nutritionist. Just something sports-related. Anyone who has ever worked with me knows my love of sports and talking about it.

But…since you are a chef…what has been your favorite moment in a Delaware North kitchen (or in general with the company)?
The moment that would have to stand out the most to me, at this point in my career, is becoming an executive chef. Starting out in the company on the very bottom rung of the culinary ladder and working my way up to becoming an executive chef before the age of 30 is something I will always think proudly of