A recently released book shares insights and stories from the career of a culinarian who had a profound impact on Delaware North.
Before his retirement at the end of 2016, Roland G. Henin spent much of his 20 years with Delaware North serving as its corporate chef, guiding culinary operations at dozens of locations. He also put his mark on high-profile dinners and lavish receptions at historic hotels, political conventions and sporting events such as the Super Bowl, World Series and Stanley Cup final.
But more than anything, Henin, one of only 65 certified master chefs in the United States, dedicated himself to mentoring hundreds of Delaware North chefs, challenging their skills, encouraging them to strive for excellence, and teaching and preparing them ahead of chef certification examinations and culinary competitions.
A new book, “Roland G. Henin — Certified Master Chef,” tells of his impact on Delaware North as part of the story of his “50 Years of Mentoring Great American Chefs,” as the book by Susan Crowther, a former Henin culinary student, is subtitled. It includes a Foreword by Henin’s most famous student, acclaimed
chef Thomas Keller, who credits Henin as the “one teacher I call my mentor, the person who has done more than any other to make me the chef I am today.”
The book features transcripts of interviews with about 60 chefs and other culinarians — including nearly 20 current or former Delaware North chefs — reflecting about Henin’s influence on
Among them: Lou Piuggi, senior vice president of culinary and executive chef for Delaware North’s Patina Restaurant Group; Larry Johnson, executive chef for Delaware North Sportservice at Busch Stadium in St. Louis; Aldofo Calles, executive chef for the travel business; Ashley Miller, executive chef for The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake; Percy Whatley, vice president of food and beverage for the parks and resorts business and a mentee of Henin’s at Yosemite National Park and elsewhere during much of his culinary career; and Kevin Doherty, TD Garden executive chef, who competed under Henin in the 2008
Culinary Olympics and several other competitions.
“There was always something he could and would show our team — a little nugget of learning — on any given day,” Whatley said in recalling his first encounter with Henin on a day at The Ahwahnee in 1998 when the veteran chef gave him a quick demonstration on plate presentation before a staff pre-shift meeting.
The book is available for purchase here, with all proceeds being donated in Henin’s name to a non-profit chef mentorship program.
PHOTO CAPTION: Former Delaware North Corporate Chef Roland Henin, pictured here at a signing of his new book, "Roland G. Henin — Certified Master Chef," mentored Delaware North culinarians for more than 20 years.