2018 Back of House - Food and Beverage Finalist
Isleta Resort & Casino
What was your first job in the hospitality/tourism industry?
Dons Quality Bakery, VA OJT program 1975; cleaning and greasing bread pans, and all tasks no one else wanted.
Who has helped/mentored you throughout your career?
Alfred Hiltbunner, Pastry Chef, Rolf Hueglin, Konditormiester
What has been the highlight of your career?
Achieving certification by the American Culinary Federation as a Certified Executive Pastry Chef, and a Certified Culinary Administrator. Currently receiving my Lifetime Certified Executive Pastry Chef from the ACF. The compliments and accolades from staff, guests and peers I hold in high regard.
Red or Green?
Red in the Morning, Green in the afternoon.
What is one suggestion or piece of advice you would share with young people entering the hospitality/tourism business?
This is extremely hard work, that requires sacrifice, but rewarding beyond words. I would also tell them to read culinary cookbooks and magazines. Travel the world and discover what is out there.
What is your favorite New Mexico travel experience?
When my wife and I travel around New Mexico we make it a point to eat in Mom and Pop restaurants, we enjoy supporting local chefs and owners. From "Rancho De Chimayo, Owl Café, Luna Mansion, Teofilos to Michael's Kitchen in Taos. A weekend drive to Rancho De Chimayo for an afternoon lunch is always well worth the trip!
What is your favorite quote or piece of inspiration?
While working for a German Pastry Chef, he told me, "If you say A, you must say B." Meaning if you are going to start something, you must finish. This is a lesson reinforced by years of experience and never forgotten.
What does being a finalist for the Top HAT Awards mean to you?
After 43 years in this business, it is an honor. I enjoy doing what I do for a living, it is not only the baking and pastries, but it is the people I have worked with over the years. The ones that I have trained and mentored, who have go on to become professional chefs. The Top Hat Award would be an honor, but it is not about me, it is the people around me who support the work and inspire me to reach higher. Sharing this award with my team would be the highlight of winning.
Stay tuned for more Finalist Spotlights as we get closer to the 2018 New Mexico True Top HAT Awards Gala on November 8th!