Testing was 10 days long versus the eight days chefs face today. It was very intense with back-to-back practical exams that had you working 14 to16 hours a day. In my group, there were 11 candidates and only four passed the exam.
Buffalo, NY (PRWEB) June 25, 2008
This year marks an important milestone for Delaware North Companies Corporate Chef and Culinary Ambassador Roland G. Henin. He is celebrating his 25th year as a certified master chef.
Henin, one of approximately 60 master chefs in the country, was an instrumental mentor to celebrated chef Thomas Keller. Henin has helped establish the global food service and hospitality provider as a leader in the culinary industry.
"Chef Henin is an inspiration to so many of our emerging chefs. As one of the very few certified master chefs in the country, he has helped establish our platform for culinary excellence in our venues ranging from Yosemite National Park to Kennedy Space Center," said Jerry Jacobs Jr., Delaware North Companies executive vice president.
"Because of his efforts, and those of our entire culinary team throughout the world, we have become known as a 'culinary' company -- one that is dedicated to leading-edge culinary trends like farm-to-table and sustainable cooking in venues.
"While his skills and passion for culinary brilliance are impressive, they do not come close to matching his work ethic, which is unparalleled. He is as dedicated to his craft today as he was at any point in his career. We have been very fortunate to have him work with us," Jacobs said.
Henin, who has seen great change in the culinary world over his career, still remembers his master chef certification exam in vivid detail. He cites it as one of his fondest memories, despite the rigorous challenges it presented him.
"It was quite arduous," Henin recalls. "Testing was 10 days long versus the eight days chefs face today. It was very intense with back-to-back practical exams that had you working 14 to16 hours a day. In my group, there were 11 candidates and only four passed the exam."
As further evidence of his proficiency, Henin had the highest overall score of the four candidates who achieved the rare certification that year.
His commitment to excellence has been a guiding force during his impressive career. In 1998, he joined Delaware North as a culinary consultant for the company's Yosemite National Park operation, including The Ahwahnee, a National Historic Landmark resort hotel featuring an elegant dining room that hosts renowned culinary events.
A few months later, Henin accepted the role of Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts corporate chef. He would serve in that role until 2007 when he accepted his current position as corporate chef and culinary ambassador for the entire company.
Henin's decade with Delaware North has brought him a great deal of wonderful memories, but he has little time to reminisce. As the culinary ambassador for Delaware North, Henin's responsibilities go well beyond the Parks & Resorts division and into all areas of culinary operations for the $2 billion company. He oversees the culinary operations at approximately 200 locations and spends his time at numerous top sporting, travel and entertainment venues where Delaware North operates.
Along with Delaware North Companies Sportservice Corporate Chef Rolf Baumann, Henin is instrumental in the training of chefs throughout the company. Currently, Henin and Baumann are working to ensure all of the company's chefs are professionally certified by this fall.
"Delaware North's commitment to ensuring all of our chefs have proper training is such a positive endeavor. I receive great joy from observing and working with our company chefs during their training and testing process," Henin said. "Seeing their elation on the last day when they find out they've succeeded and are now certified is absolutely priceless."
Henin has also taken on the challenge of coaching four Delaware North chefs who will compete individually at the 2008 Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany, in October. The chefs have been meeting monthly to practice and prepare for the prestigious culinary event.
Over the past two years, Henin has also been one of the driving forces behind Delaware North's two cookbooks, "Pathways to Plate: Destinations and Dishes from Delaware North" and "Home Plate: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine." The books, released during the holiday seasons of 2006 and 2007, respectively, feature recipes from the company's parks, resorts, and sports and entertainment venues. Henin offered conceptual ideas, recipe testing and recipe modification for each of the books.
All of these projects and accomplishments go hand-in-hand with Henin's daily responsibility of ensuring that culinary excellence is upheld throughout the entire company. His decade of work with Delaware North have helped the company structure and embolden its culinary efforts.
"The past 10 years working with Delaware North have not only been a great challenge but also a great reward thanks to all the processes I have been able to implement," Henin said. "I am proud to have had a hand orchestrating ServSafe training, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) certification and even the annual Delaware North Chefs Summit that is now in its seventh year.
"I'm proud of what I've done here. Knowing our chefs will be professionally certified at the appropriate level by the end of the year means so much to me."
Chef Henin's dedication to his art also means a great deal to Delaware North. The company will honor Henin for his 25 years as a master chef throughout the year. In January, Jacobs spoke at the Culinary Institute of America's (CIA) commencement and gifted two scholarships to the university. One scholarship is named The Jacobs Family Delaware North Scholarship; the other is aptly titled the Chef Roland Henin Scholarship as a tribute to his contributions.
The scholarship is also fitting when one considers that prior to joining Delaware North, Henin held teaching positions with the CIA and Johnson & Wales. As notable as his work as a chef has been, Henin is also a famed mentor and teacher. In 1992 he coached the gold medal U.S. Culinary Olympic Team to the World Cup in Luxemborg. A year later he received the first National Chef Professionalism Award ever granted by the American Culinary Federation.
Henin has taught or provided inspiration to some of the world's top chefs, including Thomas Keller, who asked Henin to introduce him last year when he was named chef of the year by the CIA.
Henin received his own education from the College Moderne in Nancy, France. He was designated a certified executive chef in 1979 and a certified culinary educator in 1982. He received the coveted honor of certified master chef in 1983.
"Being able to give back to the culinary world as an educator is the greatest reward," Henin says. "Money, fame and awards come and go, but the future generation of chefs will continue to make its mark long after I've finished my career."
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 Banknorth Garden. Delaware North Companies is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States with revenues exceeding $2 billion annually and 40,000 associates serving half a billion customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. For more information, visit http://www.DelawareNorth.com.
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