Meet Banquet Chef Bryan Hammond: Cooking Big
No dinner party is too big for Turning Stone Resort Casino Banquet Chef Bryan Hammond.
Depending on the size of an event, a “typical” engagement might be 200 or 250 dishes at a time. The volume can be overwhelming for some. But at this point, it’s just another day in the office for Bryan.
“I look over a lot of different events—weddings, galas, and charity fundraisers,” he said recently. “The one thing these events have in common is that they’re all pretty big, and they all mean preparing lots of food.”
The 33-year-old Syracuse native is certainly no stranger to this type of challenge. In eight years with the Oneida Indian Nation, he has worked in a variety of capacities—chef de cuisine at individual restaurants such as Emerald and Noodle Noodle (before it became Sushi Sushi), consulting chef and project manager for the Food Hall project, and, of course, banquets.
Bryan has represented Oneida Nation Enterprises at the New York State Fair, appeared in on-boarding videos for the Human Resources department, and taken recruitment trips to local colleges.
He said he also learns every day from working with Executive Chef Ron Ross.
“When I was hired, I never realized how many exciting things you can do while you’re working here,” he quipped. “That’s the unicorn of this place—if you want opportunities, there literally is no shortage of ways you can grow. Just being here makes you better.”
High-volume gigs have formed the foundation of Bryan’s career. Before he joined Turning Stone, he worked as a sous chef at the Crowne Plaza Lake Placid, doing weddings and other events at the property’s formal event hall. He said he enjoys being part of the behind-the-scenes teams that make these days special, and that it’s “incredibly fulfilling” to play a pivotal role in someone’s best day ever.
“There’s a feeling when you’re part of a gala and you know the time and effort you’re putting into whatever it is you’re doing aligns to something greater and bigger than you,” he said. “I love that.”
Bryan said he is excited for regular events to return to Turning Stone Resort Casino, and can’t wait to cook for large numbers of guests on a regular basis again. We’re delighted to have such a big-deal chef in our kitchens.