Greenbrier chef prepares to cook on world stage
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS - Richard Rosendale, executive chef at The Greenbrier, said the resort is the perfect place to prepare for an upcoming international culinary competition.
"Experimenting is crucial for competition," said Rosendale, who is also director of food and beverage. "We have 13 kitchens on the property. There are lots of opportunities to try and test."
He is currently concentrating on cooking in the kitchen that is set up like the one in Lyon, France, where he will represent Team USA at the Bocuse d'Or on Jan. 29 and 30. He went through a national selection process to represent the United States and will compete against top chefs representing 22 countries.
Call it the Olympics of cooking competitions. While he is working hard to prepare, he isn't worried.
"I'm the only one from the U.S.," said Rosendale, 37. "It's a huge honor, obviously. You have to be used to pressure. The stress is exhumed by sheer excitement. I've done over 45 national and international competitions."
His culinary talent has taken him to Germany, Switzerland, France, and Italy. However, the upcoming competition is the icing on the cake.
"This is the pinnacle of cooking competitions," he said of the event that is held once every two years.
In January 2012 the Bocuse d'Or USA Foundation held the finals to determine who would go to Lyon to represent the USA team in 2013.
Rosendale won with his River and Glen Hooker's Cod dish and platter of D'Artagnan Winter Chicken. In the upcoming competition he will prepare a beef dish displayed on a silver platter and paraded before spectators. He will also prepare a turbot and lobster creation in 12 portions for the judges.
While his career is impressive, Rosendale is a humble, hardworking guy who says his cooking interests were sparked at a young age by grandparents who were German on his father's side and Italian on his mother's.
He grew up in Uniontown, Pa., near Pittsburgh, where he honed basic skills in home economics classes. He was a sophomore when his team won a cake baking and decorating contest.
From there he has soared to be among an elite group of chefs.
He wants young people to know that dreams are attainable.
"I couldn't have imagined doing all of this," he said. "If you want it bad enough and are willing to do the hard work, you can get there."
Rosendale concedes that one of his weaknesses is taking on too much. However, being painstakingly organized means he can accomplish a great deal.
"I am a father, husband, chef and competitor," he said. "You try to meet the demands of all the roles. I work far in advance to get things done. I have a wonderful team at the Greenbrier and great coaches."
On a recent day, he worked under the guidance of head coach Gavin Kaysen and Monica Bhambhani, director of competition and events, both of Bocuse d'Or USA. Also working at his side was his assistant Corey Siegel, who just finished an apprenticeship program at The Greenbrier and will accompany him to France.
While his schedule may seem dizzying, he finds being busy helps him feel in control.
Rosendale is awake early and drops one son off at school and delivers another to the sitter. By 7:30 a.m. he is at the gym, where he works out to stay fit physically and mentally. He is at work by 10 a.m. and the day can stretch to 6 p.m. or as long as 11 p.m. He works six days a week, reserving Sunday for family day.
He and his wife, Laura, a nurse practitioner, are the parents of Lawrence, 4, and Liam, who was born in February.
He does all of the cooking at home and that suits him fine.
"My wife does not cook at all," he said. "It's me 100 percent. I like cooking for her. Lawrence is young and fickle. He's fascinated with watching me and will throw basil leaves into the pot."
Rosendale, who prepares exotic cuisine on a regular basis, is pretty basic with his own food.
"I like making red sauce like marinara," he said. "I like split pea soup with ham hock. I enjoy cooking on a grill. I love comfort food. At home I'm pretty down to earth. My wife says I don't make enough sweets. I'm pretty good at pastries."
Rosendale said his wife is supportive of his career.
While he has worked hard and trained extensively, there is another underlying reason for his culinary expertise.
"One secret of my success is I enjoy what I do," he said. "It's easy to come to work."
Go to www.richardrosendale.com for more information about Rosendale and to watch the countdown as he prepares for the competition of a lifetime.
Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at email@example.com or 304-348-1246.