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 Café 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”.
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.
Chef Vincent started his career as a busboy in his hometown of Sodus, NY. During High School, he worked full time in a few small restaurants. He admired the chefs in the kitchen and was inspired to work side by side with them. In 2014, he was offered a position to join the Oak Hill Culinary Team, a few years after he originally applied.
During his time at Oak Hill Country Club, Chef Vincent has climbed up the ranks in the kitchen and has competed in multiple competitions, including an American Culinary Federation sanctioned Hot Food competition where he earned a Silver Medal. He has also helped Oak Hill win two consecutive Dish It Out titles, alongside Executive Chef Christopher Roth, and is spearheading the Club’s Dish It Out team this year.
Chef Vincent has position himself as a member of Oak Hill’s Culinary Leadership Team and is committed to educating and guiding young culinarians
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.
Stephen began his culinary journey and passion for food as a boy in his Grandmother’s kitchen. Every fall they would make apple sauce and every spring strawberry-rhubarb pie. This carried on in the kitchen at home with his mother. In his mid-twenties, Stephen attended Johnson & Wales University where he graduated with honors. During his time at JWU he received the Distinguished Visiting Chef Scholarship which is awarded to three students annually.
Stephen began his professional career as a private Chef in Cape Cod. Soon after, Stephen took his talents to the Hyatt Corporation where he served in many capacities within the kitchen and front of the house. Stephen worked in Hyatt properties in Key West FL, Dearborn MI, Pittsburgh PA, and Cambridge MD. In his career at Hyatt, Stephen was named manager of the quarter and placed first in crab cook offs over multiple years.
Stephen became Executive Chef at Rochester Institute of Technology. In June of 2014 Stephen eagerly accepted the position of Assistant Executive Chef for Campus Auxiliary Services at SUNY Geneseo. Here Stephen will utilize his passion, skills, and community awareness to lead the team at Letchworth Dining Complex.
In 2013 Stephen was runner up in the ACF Chef of the Year competition for the Rochester chapter. In 2014 Stephen took top honors and was named the Rochester chapter ACF Chef of the Year. He also captained a team that received a bronze medal in an American Culinary Federation mystery basket competition and earned a second place finish in a national recipe contest for General Mills.
Stephen and Deena are proud parents of two children Lyla and Abel, and a Black Labrador named Arlo. Stephen enjoys spending time with his family and can be found Sunday mornings making scratch pancakes with his kids.
Summit at Brighton
Yellow Elephant Eatery
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
Daniel & Elizabeth Hoover
Daniel and Elizabeth Hoover, owners and operators of Spotted Duck Creamery, both grew up with a background in organic farming and a passion for food. In 2010, they opened a local/organic grocery where they started experimenting with frozen custards. Very quickly, the frozen custard became more popular with their customers than the other shop items, so the Spotted Duck Creamery was hatched. Now, with their full attention dedicated to artisanal frozen treats, they create eclectic flavor combinations using their farm's duck eggs and inspired by the region's orchards, gardens and craft beverage makers.
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.