Cerise Fine Catering at the Beanfield Centre culinary announcement

Cerise Fine Catering today announced the appointment of two new chef talents to lead the Beanfield Centre culinary and hospitality program.

From a Cerise culinary progression standpoint, it is with great excitement that I announced the appointment of two highly decorated culinarians to the Beanfield Centre. Shawn Whalen has accepted the position of Executive Chef, and Grace Di Fede the role of Executive Sous Chef, beginning October 30th, 2019.

Executive Chef Shawn Whalen

Shawn has been an Executive Chef for 29 years, holding positions at the Chimo Hotel Mississauga, Oshawa Golf and Country Club, Bank of Montreal Institute for Learning, Executive Chef/Director of Food and Beverage at the Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville, Regional Executive Chef for Larco Hospitality at the Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville and the Renaissance Toronto Airport Hotel, Executive Chef/Director of Food and Beverage at the Westin Prince Hotel, and Executive Chef at the InterContinental Toronto Centre.

Shawn has Captained Culinary Teams to seven International Competitions earning 50 Gold Medals and Trophies. Most notable the 1998 Regional World Cup from Expogast in Luxembourg; Regional Gold and second place overall at the 2000 World Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany, as Captain of Culinary Team Ontario; 4 Gold Medals and the World Championship at the 2001 World Culinary Grand Prix in Glasgow, Scotland with Culinary Team Canada; The “Silver Cup of France” at the 126th Annual Salon of Culinary Arts of New York City, also winning the Grand Gold, Best of Show Award;

Shawn Captained Culinary Team Canada from 2001 – 2005, representing the Canadian Culinary Federation, and competing in Luxembourg, Chicago and Germany. Culinary Team Canada came home from the 2004 World Culinary Olympics with 4 Gold Medals and 1 Olympic Championship Gold.

Shawn was the 2000 Chef of the year for the Escoffier Society of Toronto, as well as the Chef of the Year for the Central Region of Canada for the Canadian Culinary Federation for the years 2000 and 2001.

In 1990 Shawn acquired his CCC designation, and at 25 years old, is the youngest Chef in Canada to ever achieve this honour.

Twenty-eight years later, in 2018, Shawn subsequently earned the prestigious Certified Master Chef (CMC) designation. The CMC professional designation under the Canadian Culinary Institute (CCI) is the highest attainable culinary designation in Canada. Shawn earned the CMC over 4-years, with the final test being five days of intense cooking examinations in areas including gardemanger, pastry and baking, gastronomic tasting menu with wine pairings and nutritional vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Shawn is one of only 5 Certified Master Chefs in Canada, the only Certified Master Chef in a hotel and will be the only Certified Master Chef in a Conference Centre in Canada.

Executive Sous Chef Grace Di Fede

Professionally trained through the culinary brigade for almost 18 years, Grace began her career in Toronto graduating from George Brown College, followed by an externship in Italy and then completing a three-year apprenticeship program with Hilton Hotels. Grace has also achieved medals competing locally, most notably the Toronto Culinary Salon and the Junior Knorr Culinary Challenge.

In 2010, she participated in a two year pilot program administered by the Canadian Culinary Institute (CCI) and obtained her Certified Working Chef Certification (CWC) as part of her Associate Development Program (ADP) for Starwood Hotels.

In 2017, Grace achieved her Chef de Cuisine Certification (CCC). The Chef de Cuisine Certification is sanctioned by the Canadian Culinary Federation. It is known as one of the highest achievements and honours for a Canadian Chef. Since its inception 39 years ago in 1980, only approximately 1200 Chefs have achieved the CCC Certification in Canada.

Grace has a diverse culinary background, from restaurants to golf clubs and hotel kitchens, including experience overseas in Italy and The Netherlands. Some of the recognized hotel chains she has worked for are Hilton, Starwood (Sheraton), and InterContinental (IHG).

For the past 8.5 half years, Grace has held progressive leadership roles as Sous Chef, Chef de Cuisine and Executive Sous Chef with InterContinental Toronto Centre. She has participated in many media events showcasing contemporary culinary trends and her passion for cooking.

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