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Culinary Spotlight: Master Chef Daniel Scannell

Certified Master Chef® (CMC) Daniel Scannell joined Delaware North as corporate chef in April 2019. Beyond his impressive certification from the American Culinary Federation and the Culinary Institute of America (the CMC title represents the most rigorous culinary testing a professional chef can achieve), his resume includes catering multiple PGA tournaments, along with numerous awards and recognitions.

In his role as corporate chef, Scannell is in charge of developing a gold-standard culinary and management excellence program at Patina 250 in Buffalo that will function as a prototype and training ground for current associates and new recruits throughout the organization.

What is your philosophy on food?
As the world’s population continues to grow and resources continue to diminish, constant care must be a priority within the foodservice industry. Proper food-handling is essential to minimize waste and the potential for foodborne illness. It is therefore our responsibility as foodservice professionals to do all that we can to protect our most essential resource: food. “Back to the basics” will and should be our primary focus as chefs and cooks. Fostering a positive image will depend on solid culinary preparations with an
emphasis on freshness and quality.

What makes a good chef?
Being a chef is a lifestyle. It takes someone who is committed to excellence, proper training and perseverance. A great understanding of the fundamentals of cooking and sanitary preparation is essential. Also, having a strong team behind you—and being able to trust people that are fallible—is vital.

How do you practice your skills?
I would call it more honing my skills. I’m constantly honing my skills through trial and error and learning from mistakes. Cooking is a science, and not many people realize how much thought goes into it – especially from a sanitation standpoint.

What’s your favorite dish to make?
My favorite meal to prepare is veal schnitzel with braised red cabbage and spaetzle.

What culinary trends intrigue you the most?
I’m not much on trends, but I do like the different assortments of plating and presentation for meals. For example, using different Chinaware for certain dishes.

If you weren’t a chef, you’d be …
I wanted to be a professional baseball player when I was younger (who didn’t?) – but now, I’d say a graphic designer or something with design. Cooking is really an art.