Skip to Main Content
Back to New Releases

Delaware North Companies Corporate Chef Roland Henin to Team up with Thomas Keller at Bocuse d’Or Culinary Competition

Henin to coach team selected by Keller and Daniel Boulud at one of world's most rigorous culinary competitions

BUFFALO, N.Y. (August 7, 2008) – Delaware North Companies Corporate Chef and Chief Culinary Ambassador Roland Henin, CMC, has been named the coach of the U.S. culinary team that will compete in the 2009 Bocuse d’Or. The international cooking contest is widely respected as one of the most rigorous in the world. The event will take place in January in Lyon, France, at the gourmet capital of Salon Des Metiers de Bouche.

Henin’s first task will be to work with world-renowned chefs Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller to select the team that will represent the United States. Boulud and Keller are chairman and president, respectively, of the Bocuse d’Or U.S. committee.

In addition to his long career as the only French-born certified master chef in America, Henin is a well-known teacher, coach and mentor to many celebrity chefs. Keller credits Henin with helping him learn through a relationship that spans 25 years and encompassed the fundamentals of good cooking and his potential as a chef.

In his current role with Delaware North, Henin is responsible for establishing and maintaining the culinary excellence of the company’s approximately 200 locations. This often puts him in top sporting, travel and entertainment venues and in national treasures like Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Sequoia national parks.

"It is an honor to be appointed to coach such a prestigious team," stated Henin. "I cherish the opportunity to work with Chef Keller and every one of the great culinarians who will take part in the competition. The Bocuse d’Or is a unique challenge and it will be a great all-around experience."

Finding the best chefs to represent the United States at the competition will be a long and drawn-out process. Teams interested in competing can submit applications and the eight best will be invited to compete at the Bocuse d’Or USA Cuisine Competition in Orlando, Fla. There, a panel of chefs, including Keller and Boulud, will judge the teams on their preparation of one fish and one meat dish that has to feed 12 servings until they’ve established an overall winner. That team will be coached by Henin and compete next January in Lyon.

"We are committed to recruiting the best and most talented chefs to compete in Lyon next year and we believe this is the perfect way to find them" Keller said of the preliminary events. "This is a wonderful opportunity for these chefs as they’ll be able to work with Chef Henin and a number of other extraordinary culinary talents."

Keller is a famous American chef and restaurateur who owns the landmark restaurant The French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., and Per Se in New York City. He was named Best California Chef in 1996 and Best Chef in America in 1997 and his restaurant is a perennial winner or top finisher in the annual Restaurant Magazine list of the Top 50 Restaurants of the World. He has already committed to create a training kitchen next to The French Laundry where the American team can practice in the months ahead.

"It is just great for our industry," Keller said. "It promotes interest in chefs and allows them more opportunities. Working with Daniel Boulud, Roland Henin and me at The French Laundry will be a fantastic experience for them. Imagine the excitement of being part of this. If we do it correctly it will set a foundation for years to come. It is all about promoting chefs and their craft."

The U.S. team has never captured the gold medal at the Bocuse d’Or, but Boulud and Keller are hoping that will soon change. In 1992, Henin coached the United States American Culinary Federation Olympic Team that brought the Culinary World Cup home to the United States. He is currently coaching five Delaware North chefs who will compete in the 2008 Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany, this October.

Prior to joining Delaware North, Henin also worked as the director of the Culinary Arts Department at the Art Institute of Seattle. He’s held numerous teaching positions at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and Johnson & Wales College in Providence, R.I. Earlier this year, Delaware North established The Chef Roland Henin Scholarship at the Culinary Institute of America to help future aspiring chefs.

"I have been fortunate to work with some very wonderful and very talented people throughout my career," Henin said. "I am anxious to work with Chef Keller again. And, I’m excited to work with all the chefs who want to compete. At the end of the day, culinary competitions are about chefs pushing their talents and discovering what they are truly capable of achieving."

Henin was awarded the first-ever National Chef Professionalism Award in 1993. He is currently in his 25th year as a certified master chef, one of the most senior members of the 60-chef group.

The Bocuse d’Or requires chefs to be excellent in technique, flavor, taste, texture, sophistication, harmony of ingredients, originality and presentation. The competition is held in a stadium-style venue in front of an audience. Teams from more than 20 countries participate.