Delaware North Companies Salutes American Culinary Federation Award Recipients

Leading Hospitality and Food Service Company Receives Distinguished Awards at National Culinary Competition

BUFFALO, N.Y., Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ — Visitors at The BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel in Dixville Notch, N.H., will soon be tasting creations from America’s newly named 2005 Student Culinarian of the Year. Christopher Gould, an apprentice at the Delaware North-managed property, recently competed in a two-hour cook-off in front of more than 1,600 professional chefs to earn gold at the American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) 2005 National Convention.

Every year the ACF holds a national convention, following four regional conventions, where culinary leaders from various regions throughout the United States compete in many competitions in efforts of being recognized as a national leader. Various awards include “chef of the year,” “pastry chef of the year,” “chef professionalism,” “educator of the year” and “student culinarian of the year.” This year’s national convention was held last month in San Antonio, Texas.

The ACF Student Culinarian of the Year Award, established in 1987 and sponsored by Custom Culinary Inc., recognizes up-and-coming students who demonstrate a high level of professionalism, culinary skills and a passion for the culinary arts. Set to graduate in October from The BALSAMS on-site culinary apprenticeship program, Gould has also earned the 2004 Johnson & Wales Grand Professionalism Award, a gold medal at the 2004 New Hampshire State Junior Hot-Food Team Competition and a silver medal at the 2004 Northeast Regional Junior Hot-Food Team Competition.

“We’re extremely proud of Gould’s ACF performance and industry standing,” said Dennis Szefel, president of Delaware North Companies Hospitality Group. “As operator of some of America’s most treasured destinations, we pride ourselves on our pool of top-notch culinary professionals. Graduating apprentice Gould is well on his way to becoming a leading chef in the industry and we’re thrilled to offer our guests unique and exciting culinary experiences as he continues to hone his skills in order to become one of America’s top professional chefs.”

Also honored was Phil Learned, Certified Executive Chef (CEC) and member of the American Academy of Chefs (AAC). Chef Learned received the prestigious 2005 Hermann G. Rusch Chef’s Achievement Award for his lifetime commitment to the ACF and the culinary profession since 1966, when he began as executive chef at The BALSAMS. Though Chef Learned recently retired from his position as managing partner and director of food service at The BALSAMS, he continues to be a source of information and guidance for other chefs.

“Chef Phil has redefined The BALSAMS into one of the most notable culinary attractions in New England,” said Chef Roland Henin, Certified Master Chef (CMC) for Delaware North Companies. “He has been an incredible force in the culinary profession, helping to make the Northeastern U.S. the culinary hotbed that it is. We applaud his award and hope to continue his commendable culinary legacy at The BALSAMS.”

Among his many achievements, Chef Learned is a founding member of the first ACF chapter in New Hampshire. He also helped establish the first state culinary apprenticeship program in 1978, under the direction of culinary visionary Chef Rusch.

The BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel recently celebrated its 140th season under the new management of Delaware North Companies, one of the nation’s foremost hospitality and entertainment companies. Since re-opening on May 27, the picturesque resort nestled in the White Mountains and deep in the Great North Woods of New Hampshire offers world-renowned cuisine and an array of recreational activities on site, including: 27 holes of golf, tennis courts, boating and fishing, hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snow play. As the new operator of the property, Delaware North is responsible for overseeing all lodging, food and beverage, retail and recreational operations for the destination, including the property’s renowned culinary academy.

About Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts

Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, a subsidiary of Delaware North Companies, is a leading hospitality provider with significant experience in hotel, retail, food service, recreation and transportation operations. The company’s portfolio includes some of the unique properties in North America, including Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex; Yosemite, Sequoia and Yellowstone national parks; Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite; Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa near Vancouver, B.C.; Niagara Falls, Robert Moses and Captree state parks; Deer Creek Resort & Conference Center; the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia and Denver; and The Lodge & Conference Center at Geneva State Park, Ohio.

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, CA One Services, Delaware North Companies Sportservice, Delaware North Companies International, TD Banknorth Garden (formerly FleetCenter), Delta Queen Steamboat Company and American Park ‘n Swap. Delaware North Companies is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States with $1.6 billion in annual revenue and 30,000 associates serving half a billion customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. For more information, visit

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