February 22, 2005

Madani Kicks Off Student-Run Guest Chef Series

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Chef Gerard Madani of the Pierre New York kicked off the 2005 Guest Chef Series at Banfi’s at the Statler Hotel. The series is hosted, staffed and organized by the 22-student H ADM 403: Specialty Food and Beverage Operations class in the School of Hotel Administration.

Students in the class, supervised by Madani, prepared a four course French meal consisting of dishes such as hamachi tartare with American paddlefish roe and braised veal cheeks. Each course was served with a different wine, donated to the program by Charmer Industries, a beverage distributor based in Astoria, New York.

The $125-per-plate dinner drew about 120 guests.

Members of the class said they expected to attract a diverse crowd.

“We have many types of customers. There are loyal Guest Chef customers; professors and Ithaca residents. We also draw a lot of Cornell students and industry leaders,” said Lindsey Rosenthal ’05, one of the marketing managers for the Guest Chef Series.

Born in Roanne, France, Madani is currently the executive chef at The Pierre, a five-star Four Seasons hotel in New York City. Beginning his career in cooking as a 14-year old pot washer in France, Madani has gone on to work at restaurants all over the world including the Inter-Continental Hotels in Sydney, Australia and Miami, Florida.

Madani had nothing but positive comments regarding Cornell and the students he worked with.

“Very impressive… beautiful. The students I worked with are very dedicated,” said Madani. The event marked a smooth beginning for the Guest Chef’s class. Ari Malzman ’06 told The Sun that the night went exactly as planned; the beginner chefs and marketing managers encountered no unexpected difficulties.

“People said for a first event it was the smoothest ever. Everything went perfectly,” said Malzman, a marketing manager for the event.

“This was an exceptional meal, way beyond my expectations,” said Carolyn Caine ’06. For the Guest Chef Series, students in the class are divided into three teams that oversee different parts of the event: production, service and marketing. The production team is in charge of the actual cooking which was supervised by Madani and his assistants.

Students on the production team supervise and staff the dining area and are responsible for the design of the dining room and table.

The production team is charged with advertising and promoting the Guest Chef program and coordinating the travel arrangements of the chef and his staff and their itinerary once they arrive.

Students in the Guest Chefs class put on six dinners over the course of the spring semester. For the next dinner, on March 13, the class will be hosting Chef Alfred Portale, the executive chef and co-owner of the Gotham Bar and Grill in New York City. Additionally, Portale serves as the executive consulting chef of the Striped Bass Restaurant, also in New York City.

In addition to coordinating the dinner and setting up the event, the students entertained Madani and his assistant chefs, taking them around Collegetown.

“Not only was he inspiring to work with, the entire team was fun to be around,” Malzman summarized.

Archived article by Daniel Palmadesso
Sun Staff Writer