Starter Course - Battle of the Country Clubs

 

Kody Derhak

Oak Hill Country Club


Sean Flaherty

Sean Flaherty’s career started at the early age of 15 as a dishwasher at The Lodge at Woodcliff in Rochester, New York. Knowing he wanted to be a Chef, Sean started vocational training his senior year of high school where he competed in the VICA skill Olympics and took first place in Culinary Arts. By the time he had left for culinary school at Johnson and Wales University, he had worked his way up the ranks to become the Lodge at Woodcliff’s Buffet Chef. While in Providence Rhode Island attending college, Sean continued honing his skills working at Hemenway’s Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar as well as CafĂ© Nuovo.
Upon his return to the Rochester area, Sean worked at The Daisy Flour Mill for a short time before landing his first Executive Chef position at Age 24 taking the helm of Eaglevale Country Club. As part of the Gateway Group, He also was Executive Chef at Cutlers at The Memorial Art Gallery and Thendara Inn and Restaurant in Canandaigua, New York. 
In 2001, Sean decided it was time to step down as an Executive Chef to learn a new way of cooking and execution. Sean was recruited to join the award winning culinary team at The Genesee Valley Club, a Platinum City Club ranked 13th in the nation. While at the club, Sean became an active member of The American Culinary Federation and traveled around the country competing in ACF sanctioned events where he received many medals including gold.  After 5 years, Sean then moved on to become the Catering Chef at The Del Monte Lodge and Spa, The #1 rated Renaissance hotel.
In 2008, Sean was hired as Executive Chef at Shadow Lake Golf and Racquet Club. After receiving his Certified Executive Chef certification in 2011, Sean oversaw the kitchens at Shadow Lake, Shadow Pines and Greystone Golf Clubs. In 2013 Sean received Employer Of The Year Award by the Rochester Area Employment Network Inc. for his work with an employee who was disabled. Sean has also been nominated for ACF Rochester Chef of The Year on several occasions which he competed for in 2014. In 2015, Sean was once again nominated to compete but was unable to due to a death in the family. In spring of 2016, The Shadows of Penfield and Greystone Golf Clubs were broken up and sold individually. Sean’s focus is now entirely on Shadow Lake and it’s culinary team. 
Sean believes in using seasonal fresh ingredients, sticking to contemporary presentations and staying true to classical technique and preparation. He leads his staff by example pushing himself to constantly strive for perfection and try each and every task slightly different to achieve a better result. “ I would not be where I am today without being pushed to my fullest potential by each and every Chef I’ve worked for. I owe that back to everyone who is part of my team”  seanfla@rochester.rr.com

 

 


 

Sarah Kelsey

Born and raised in a small town outside of Utica, NY called Clinton, Chef Sarah’s interest in food started at an early age. She cooked along side her Grandparents, Mother and Aunts who Knew How to cook great food. Keeping family recipes and traditions were very important to her family. After High School she attended The New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, VT. During Her education she had to complete internships which took her from a resort in Saratoga Springs, NY to a four- diamond fine dining restaurant in Charleston, SC.
After a couple of years in Charleston, SC working under Chef Ciaran Duffy, she worked at an event for rising chefs in Manhattan at the James beard House. She worked at many establishments where she fell in love with the private club aspect of the culinary industry. She landed in Rochester, NY at the Genesee Valley Club where she worked through the ranks from a line cook to a Sous Chef. Under Chef Michael Macri, CEC she learned how to be a great leader. Sarah always showed a passion and drive to do her best.
Sarah’s vision is to elevate simple foods with different techniques. She also believes in cooking with seasonal products and working with local farms to provide the freshest ingredient to her members.


Kevin Ford

Country Club of Rochester


Entree - Battle of the Restaurants

Anton Guzman

Executive Chef Anton Guzman is a Culinary Institute of America Graduate of 2016. Prior to attending culinary school he worked in restaurant kitchens for 10 years. He was the Sous Chef at The Back Nine Grill, Head Chef at Wall Street, and Executive Chef at The Pittsford Pub. Chef Guzman also has experience working in the Hudson Valley, as well as in New York City. He has been the Executive Chef at Label 7 Napa Eatery and Bar since August 2016. Chef Guzman displays a passion for working with, teaching and learning from his staff and other chefs. His favorite things to cook are fresh pastas, steaks and chops. In his free time he enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing with his dog, and driving his Mustang.


Jason Deleo

Jason Deleo is the owner and chef of Food By Deleo and Meals by Deleo. Food by Deleo specializes in catering and special events, where Meals by Deleo is a meal prep service to help customers achieve their health goals. He has been catering in Rochester for the last 16 years and running the newer meal prep portion for the last 3 years, with both businesses growing more each day. 
Jason started his culinary career as a dishwasher at the Arena Party house. He then became a line cook at The Brasserie. That is when he knew he found his calling and decided to go to the Culinary Institute of America to join an elite group of chefs. After graduating from CIA he was the Executive Chef at Bausch and Lomb Headquarters. Jason and his wife moved to Florida when he was presented the opportunity to be the opening chef of the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando. When he moved back to Rochester he served as the executive chef at The Harbor House. In 2002 he ventured out on his own and created Food by Deleo, this sucessful catering business, little did he know would produce one of the top meal prep companies in Rochester; Meals by Deleo.
Before Meals by Deleo came to fruition Jason dealt with many health issues. He was a type-2 diabetic, overweight with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and depression, all at the age of 38. Needing to make a change and knowing the weight loss fads of the world were not for him, he created a meal plan and followed a macro-based diet. Through this plan he was able to lose 80 pounds, and swear off his max dose medications. Inspired by his transformation, his family and friends asked for his help to achieve their own goals through nutrition. And thus, Meals By Deleo was born. With his culinary prowess and quest for good nutrition, he is able to to consistently provide tasty fresh (Never Frozen) meals delivered to your home. 
Jason is the proud father of 4 boys who are all following in his foot steps, and loving husband to his wife of 22 years Nicole. Jason prides himself in being a family man and giving back to the community in anyway possible, especially giving out meals to those in need. It's not just making good food that he represents, it is about being a good person while doing it. 

 

 


Brian Frank

Native of Rochester, NY, Chef Brian Frank found his passion for food early on. Starting his culinary career in local restaurants and country clubs at the young age of fifteen he instantly fell in love with the diverse culture and personalities of the kitchen. The chaos and fast paced environment always offered something to be learned. Brian attended a local culinary trade school during his High School years and continued his education at Johnson & Wales University where he attained an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts and later, a Bachelors in Food Service Management.  Brian worked closely under the watchful eye of Chef John Richardson at the acclaimed French restaurant Pot Au Feu. This experience honed his culinary techniques, the foundation for what would become his personal artistic cooking style. Upon graduating, Chef Brian Frank worked in various restaurants on the east coast with talented world renowned Chefs such as David Bouley, Brian Bistrong, Greg Vassos, Jeremy Collins and John Frezee. Brian combined their influence with his own unique preferences to bring modern dining concepts into the homes of many of his clients.


Matt Laurence

Matt Laurence is a native of Rochester, NY.  He has over 20  experience in hotels and multi-unit operations including SUNY Geneseo, the New York Wine and Culinary Center and Woodcliff Hotel.  
When not working, he enjoys cooking with his two teenage girls. 


Jeremy Nucelli

Jeremy brings 25 years of experience to Char Steak and Lounge at The Strathallan Hotel, a Rochester landmark, on East Avenue. As a Rochester native, Jeremy started cooking in the family business at age 15. His passion for food then took him to culinary school in West Palm Beach, FL.

His career has taken him to New York City at Bouley Restaurant and Cru, Boca Raton at La Vielle Maison. In Rochester he has worked for highly esteemed restaurants such as Nikko, Max of Eastman Place, and Warfield’s High Point. 

 

Lindsay McGrail

A graduate of Franklin and Marshall College in 2000, Lindsay set off to New York City with a passion for food and cooking, but the pragmatic feeling that she was meant to work in medicine.  
A career changer at the age of 24, she graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education in 2004, and began to make her mark in the food world. Stints in the restaurants of celebrity chefs Brad Farmerie and Douglas Rodriguez, as well as catering events for Mayor Bloomberg, MTV and other New York elite proved to Lindsay that she had truly found her passion. 
Lindsay returned to Upstate New York in 2006 and opened The Green Zebra Catering Company, now Green Zebra Catering LLC in 2007, naming her new company after her favorite heirloom tomato.  Her focus on seasonal ingredients prepared in creative and innovative ways has found its place in the Rochester area.  With 13 years in business, Lindsay continues to thrive and loves spending each day creating custom culinary experiences for events of all sizes.   She lives in Brighton with her husband, daughter, and furry friends.

 

 


DESSERT - 35th Anniversary Cake Challenge

Brenda Allen

Brenda Allen is the Pastry Chef at the Summit at Brighton and Wolk Manor in Brighton, New York. They are Independent and Assisted Senior Living facilities where Brenda is solely responsible for the planning and preparation of all dessert courses on a daily basis.

Brenda has thirty years of culinary experience, including line cooking, serving, prep cooking and now baking. In High School, she majored in Home Economics and attended a two year Food Service Vocational course,  where she won two cake decorating trophies and was chosen as "Student of the Year" both years. She has an Associates degree in Hospitality Management from GCC, and a Certificate in Culinary Arts from REOC.

Brenda is mainly self-taught in the areas of Baking and Pastry arts, but hopes to attend a Culinary Arts school in the near future for further learning of her craft.

Brenda has always loved cooking and finds great joy in bringing smiles to people's faces through desserts. She will continue to strive to come up with new creative ideas for delicious desserts that will bring those smiles


Jill Conine

I have grown up in the restaurant business quite literally. My parents have owned a successful restaurant for over 45 years and now it is being carried on by the next generation. I was trained by my mother and father and have worked in different restaurants throughout my career but I always seem to come home.


Jane Munt

Jane Munt graduated in a 2012 from a small culinary program in Northern Virginia with an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts concentrating on Baking and Pastry. She continued her training at a French restaurant, Le Caprice DC, in Washington, DC. Upon her return to Rochester, NY in 2013, she worked at a small cafe/bakery and a local restaurant before finding her “dream job” at Phillips European. She is a former Educational Development Faculty member at RIT where she taught for 29 years before retiring and pursuing her life-long passion for cooking and baking.


Shannon Speranza

Shannon Speranza was introduced to the restaurant business by her grandfather and father at an early age. The energy of the restaurant staff and environment instilled her passion for the industry. 
Shannon began her professional career working at Burgundy Basin. She went on to work for Marriott Food Services at Wellesley College in Boston, MA. Shannon returned to Rochester, NY where she worked at Kodak managing a team of chefs who provided fresh cook-to-order meals.  Shannon then became a food broker selling products and training chefs on products from companies including Pillsbury, Tyson, Smuckers and Ore-Ida.
Shannon loves her current position teaching Culinary Arts at Eastern Monroe Career Center (EMCC) at Monroe One BOCES. For the past 18 years, she has had fortunate opportunity to work with young adults and share her culinary passion on a daily basis. She finds that the most rewarding part of her job is seeing students’ successes in the culinary industry after they have graduated from EMCC.