I am starting a new series of interviews with vendors for this blog, titled “Great People to Know”. The first installment is my interview with Donna Berns, the Executive Chef and Director of Banquet Sales of Chenoweth Golf Club, located in Akron, Ohio.
Donna, thank you so much for speaking with us about your work, and Chenoweth Club. I appreciate that you are taking the time out of your busy schedule to accommodate our request. Our readers certainly will want to learn more about your services.
Our interview follows below:
What makes Chenoweth unique?
Quality of food & service with attention to details such as menu selections set up and so on.
How did you get started in your field, and at Chenoweth?
Food and cooking has always been my passion since I was a young child about 11 years of age. I continued on to follow my passion through a restaurant management program in High School worked at a few restaurants then started a family. About 22 years after catering for family, friends and acquaintances free of charge I was so encouraged by one event that I did. There comment to me was “You need to do this” “If you don’t do this for a living you are missing your calling.” That gave me the encouragement to start my own catering business about that same time Chenoweth was just starting to build the banquet facility and as I was golfing there and inquired as who was to handle the catering for them it lead to an interview and we took a chance on each other. A chance that has turned into a wonderful growing adventure and a dream come true. Thank you Larry and Karen!
What do you enjoy best about your job?
Well, there are two things in particular. I am a people pleaser. So first I would have to say, I get to please people through food! And Second I enjoy working with the clients to be sure that their day is everything they could dream of. I have met some wonderful people and made great friends.
Please tell us about your favorite wedding or event that you have done.
This is a tough question because I enjoy them all! I would have to say that the annual Valentine Wine Dinner Dance, the last one in particular because it is my baby so to speak, I come up with the theme, food selections decorations the hole nine yards. What made the last one so special was I got to work for a young man that used this occasion to “Pop The Question”. That was a lot of fun and everyone enjoyed the evening so much that they plan to attend next year.
What are the questions a bride should ask when choosing a caterer and a venue like Chenoweth?
Well, cost would be one of the top things. Is it within their budget. Food is so important. I always say “No matter how beautiful the facility if the food is mediocre or less all that beauty fades away as your guests will be disappointed and talk of nothing else.”
What’s the most difficult aspect of your job?
Besides the obvious physical demands of cooking for large crowds with a small kitchen staff it would have to be quality control. I work with so many food companies and am loyal to not just one of them because I am so picky with the quality of what I serve. I hand pick all of the fruit that goes onto the fruit trays, I just can’t let go and have it sent in on a truck for fear of letting go of quality.
Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself, or your field of expertise, or the hospitality industry?
Don’t pick a place on appearance alone. You must be comfortable with the people that are working with you, and they must be willing to do just that, work with you. Also if food is tops on the list ask for a tasting before you sign.
What else would you like people to know about Chenoweth?
We are like family, we care about our customers and their needs & desires we all are willing to go that extra mile to make dreams come true.
Again, thanks so much Donna! You can find more information about Donna Burns, and Chenoweth Golf Club at www.chenowethgolf.com. Also check out their upcoming events, like this one:
Chenoweth Beer Tasting Celebration
Menu includes five courses of food complimented by Great Lakes Beers. (Of course a cash bar will be available for all those non beer drinkers)
First Course: Irish potato Soup complimented by: Conway’s Irish Ale
Second Course: Mahi- Mahi with a sesame and caper sauce and sugar snap peas complimented by Dortmunder Gold
Third Course: Spicy Garlic Buffalo Style Chicken with a side of creamy blue cheese smashed red skin potatoes complimented by: Eliot Ness
Fourth Course: BBQ Glazed Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Asparagus Complimented by: Edmond Fitzgerald
Fifth Course: Yes, Beer and Chocolate! Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie drizzled with a dark chocolate sauce Complimented by: Blackout Stout
Well, everything sounds great to me! Here are a few more pictures from Chenoweth Club. Enjoy!!