Delaware North Companies Chef Paul Padua qualifies for national competition
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (May 11, 2011) – The executive pastry chef of The Ahwahnee hotel at Yosemite National Park was honored as Western Regional Pastry Chef of the Year by The American Culinary Federation (ACF) after winning a competition at the regional conference May 3 in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The Ahwahnee’s executive pastry chef, Paul Padua of Delaware North Companies, will now compete for the national title against other regional winners at the ACF National Convention in Dallas July 22-26.
Through its parks and resorts division, Delaware North, a global leader in hospitality management and food service, operates The Ahwahnee and other lodging and visitor services at Yosemite for the National Park Service.
In addition to winning the competition, Padua was honored as a pastry chef who displays a passion for the craft, has an accomplished reputation in the pastry field and has helped educate others by sharing skills and knowledge. Padua had been anonymously nominated to participate in the ACF Western Region competition.
Competitors were required to prepare four identical portions of a hot-warm dessert featuring apples. They were given 15 minutes to set up, 60 minutes to cook and bake, 10 minutes to plate and 15 minutes to clean up the dessert.
Judges chose Padua’s creation based on cooking skills, taste, safety and sanitizing skills and professionalism. Padua’s award-winning dessert was a dish of baked flambé apples with apple cranberry ice cream and thyme crème anglaise.
“The judges want to recreate the reality of a professional kitchen when you are in the competition,” Padua said. “They look at everything. How much food is wasted, how many tools you use and how many ingredients you list in the pastry recipe. Everything has to be appropriate.”
Percy Whatley, Delaware North’s award-winning executive chef at The Ahwahnee, helped Padua brainstorm the desert concept. The team at The Ahwahnee critiqued his practice dessert to help him prepare for the competition.
“I’m fortunate to work for a company that supports its chefs,” Padua said.
Padua has been the executive pastry chef of The Ahwahnee, Yosemite National Park’s four-diamond, National Historic Landmark hotel, since 2008. He has more than 20 years of pastry experience working at world-famous resorts, hotels and casinos throughout Asia, the Pacific and Las Vegas.
During his career, Padua has received multiple prestigious awards for his pastry and baking creations. In 2010, Padua represented Team USA in the Gelato World Cup in Italy, and he will return in January 2012 to compete with the team in the biannual competition.
Before he competes at the ACF National Convention in Texas, Padua will compete in the 2011 Amoretti National Pastry Team Championships July 3-7 in Phoenix.
The American Culinary Federation is the premier professional organization for culinarians in North America. With more than 20,000 members spanning 225 chapters nationwide, ACF is the culinary leader in offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and programmatic accreditation. For more information, visit www.acfchefs.org.
About Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts
Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts is a leading hospitality provider in Special PlacesSM, with hotel, retail, food service, recreation and transportation operations at historic and scenic properties in North America and Australia. The company operates Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and in Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Sequoia and Yosemite national parks, including The Ahwahnee and other Yosemite lodges; Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite & the Cottages at Tenaya Lodge; Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa in British Columbia; Niagara Falls State Park; The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake in Ohio; Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga; Holiday Inn West Yellowstone, Gray Wolf Inn & Suites and Yellowstone Park Hotel; and soon, LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Wash. The company also owns and operates five luxury resorts in Australia: Lizard Island Resort, Heron Island Resort, Wilson Island Resort, Kings Canyon Resort and El Questro Homestead and Wilderness Park. To learn more about Delaware North Companies’ hospitality management expertise, visit www.experiencednc.com.
About Delaware North Companies
Delaware North Companies is one of the world’s leading hospitality and food service providers. Its family of companies includes Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment, Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services, Delaware North Companies Sportservice, Delaware North Companies International and Delaware North Companies Boston, owner of TD Garden. Delaware North Companies is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States with revenues exceeding $2 billion annually and 55,000 associates serving half a billion customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. For more information, visit www.DelawareNorth.com. 
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