RYE BROOK, N.Y., Sept. 13, 2021—CulinArt Group is featuring three of its chefs in various activities to celebrate Chef Appreciation Week (Sept. 12-18), which celebrates the hard work our chefs and their coworkers do every day to make a positive impact on the wellbeing of our guests, health of our communities and the vitality of the food system. Read on to learn more about each chef and their contribution to these activities.
Meet Amanda Catenaccio
Fans of food shows, celebrity chef competitions, and daytime TV might easily recognize Amanda Catenaccio, CulinArt’s executive chef at Kering Americas in Totowa, N.J. That’s because she has appeared on Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and in a “Good Day New York” cooking segment with Rosanna Scotto; she even took the top prize in a Celebrity Chef Cook-off that raised money for breast cancer awareness. Amanda was also the executive catering chef for ABC/Disney’s cast, crew, and on-air talent, not to mention her stint as a culinary arts instructor at The Star Career Academy in Newark, N.J.
In June 2020, Amanda began channeling all this experience and expertise into leading dining services at Kering, the U.S. arm of a French conglomerate of luxury fashion, jewelry, and eyewear brands (think Gucci, Boucheron, Saint Laurent). After hours, Amanda goes off-road in her Jeep Wrangler, haunts microbreweries, and frequently finds herself at her piano.
As part of Chef Appreciation Week activities, Amanda will represent CulinArt in the 2021 Women in Culinary Chef Challenge, a competition taking place virtually with four finalists competing live in October.
Meet Jennifer Minichiello, CEC
Imparting their knowledge is one of the most important things a chef can do, and Jennifer Minichiello, CulinArt’s dir. of dining services at Brentwood School in Los Angeles, embraces that responsibility wholeheartedly. While toiling as a culinary instructor at The Art Institute of Orange County, she mentored six high school culinary teams, four of which bested 150 teams competing in the Healthy Schools Campaign’s Cooking up Change National competition. She also mentored six teams as part of the National Restaurant Association’s ProStart program, and is an American Culinary Federation certified executive chef.
Jennifer knows high-volume foodservice well, having served as a chef at southern California convention centers and an aquarium. At a 2009 TedTalk, such science and technology luminaries as Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were among attendees she fed. At another time, so was the Dalai Lama— she was on a team that prepared the Tibetan spiritual leader’s 80th birthday cake during his swing through Orange County in 2015.
In 2019, she joined CulinArt at Brentwood School where, in addition to overseeing a meal service for about 1,300 students and faculty, she assists the school in its efforts to feed and support local homeless veterans (for which she and her team were honored earlier this year as part of CulinArt’s Hospitality Heroes program). “The challenge of bringing healthy food to our students and faculty out of two kitchens to three different locations is the exciting part,” she says. “Every day it is something different.”
After hours (if there are any), Jennifer voluntarily mentors local college and high school culinary students; is a court-appointed special advocate for a foster child; reads avidly; and takes in the occasional Los Angeles Angels game.
As part of Chef Appreciation Week activities, Jennifer represented CulinArt in an inspiring video with a meaningful message about how food brings us together and transcends geographies, cultures and generations. Take two minutes and click here to watch it!
Meet Mashaye Barr
Anyone who knows Mashaye Barr, CulinArt Group’s executive chef at T. Rowe Price in Owings Mills, Md., knows how she spends much of her spare time—donating her culinary talents to various charities and causes that assist and support the homeless in the city of Baltimore. Chef ’Shaye, as she’s known by staff, started doing this long before she joined CulinArt in 2018.
After graduation from Stratford University in Baltimore, the two-time magna cum laude recipient launched her culinary career at the Capital Grille; stints at a convention center, retirement community, and private school followed.
In 2018, Barr started working with DeaconChef, whose mission is to serve the homeless community in the Greater Baltimore and surrounding areas by providing resources for health, housing and hygiene that will renew hope for better living, to assist with Christmas service at the War Memorial Plaza in downtown Baltimore. She was then asked to join as an Advising Board Member, and she continues to support coordination for culinary events.
This year, Chef ’Shaye started a nonprofit named Vizion of Culinary which will serve the Baltimore/D.C. area. “My new organization is geared to teaching health and wellness,” she says, “while empowering the community at large. Baltimore has a large network of talented chefs, but not enough skilled workers. I would like to change that narrative by sharing my skills free of charge. Over the years I have worked hard to build a sound network, which will help me as I grow my organization to do some awesome work.”
These days, “free time” for Mashaye includes painting, visiting local organic farms with her husband, or coming up with creative dishes or beverages, such as pickled watermelon rinds.
As part of Chef Appreciation Week activities, Mashaye joined the Compass Influencer Network, a campaign to build awareness of company-wide initiatives and commitments that will inspire associates, guests, and clients to share our story. “Chefs set the tone for what our day-to-day is,” says Chef Mashaye. “It’s important for us to think about the sustainability of what we serve every day – from the meals to the containers they are served in.” Click here to view Mashaye’s Influencer video on the CulinArt Connect YouTube channel.