Delaware North Companies Sportservice and the Baltimore Orioles today announced that Joshua Distenfeld will serve as the executive chef for Oriole Park at Camden Yards and Baltimore native David Friendlich will serve as sous chef.
Distenfeld is an American Culinary Federation (ACF) Certified Executive Chef with 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including managing large-scale culinary operations. Most notably, he has served as executive chef at Harrah’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, Harrah’s Chester (Pa.) Casino and Racetrack, and the Radisson Hotel Rochester (N.Y.) Riverside, a full-service convention center hotel. Most recently, Distenfeld managed the extensive food and beverage operations at an upscale retirement community in Media, Pa.
Friendlich, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), brings 17 years of experience as a chef to Sportservice. He spent several years as an executive and sous chef in New Orleans restaurants, including at the Fairmont Hotel, before returning to the region as a sous chef for a Baltimore staple - The Brass Elephant. Over the last decade, Friendlich has been a partner and chef at Remomo CafÃƒÂ© Italia in Hanover, Md.
In November, Sportservice received a 12-year contract from the Orioles to operate food, beverage and retail merchandise services at Camden Yards. Since then, Sportservice has been assembling its culinary team and developing new menus for the ballpark’s concessions and premium areas. For inspiration, Sportservice President Rick Abramson led several of the company’s regional chefs and Orioles officials on a Dec. 1 tour of Baltimore restaurants.
Distenfeld and Friendlich are currently working to finalize menus for the upcoming season.
“David and I bring a great feel for Baltimore and the region’s tastes, as well as a passion for creating delicious food,” Distenfeld said. “We’re both very excited to join Sportservice and have the opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind eating experience - one stamped with Baltimore and Maryland culture - at such a special place as Oriole Park at Camden Yards.”
Distenfeld will oversee the ballpark’s significant culinary operations, including its kitchens, full-service restaurants, club level dining, premium suite service, special event catering and concessions. As executive chef, he will continuously enhance menus and manage the vast and complex ordering of thousands of pounds of produce, meat, poultry, seafood and hundreds of other foods and ingredients. On game days, he will oversee dozens of chefs and cooks preparing food to potentially serve 45,000 fans.
Distenfeld has completed masters-level courses and earned certifications from the Culinary Institute of America. He and Friendlich are also certified in ServSafe, the nationally accredited food safety program designed by the National Restaurant Association and used by top restaurants.
Distenfeld has won numerous culinary awards, including two silver and three bronze ACF medals. In 2006, the highly talented chef’s culinary work at Harrah’s was recognized by the Best of Las Vegas awards for Best CafÃƒÂ©. While working in Rochester, he created several crab meat recipes - a crab cake, crab salad, and crab and roasted corn flan - that were selected by national hotelier GF Management for submission to Baltimore-based Phillips’ crabmeat recipe contest. In addition, the chef is an accomplished ice sculptor, having completed the CIA’s advanced ice carving course. His team finished fourth in the 2006 World Ice Art Championships in Alaska.
Distenfeld is a New York City native and bilingual, having earned an international degree in Spanish at the University of Salamanca in Spain, as well as bachelor’s degrees in economics and Spanish at the State University of New York at Cortland.
Friendlich grew up in Randallstown and now lives in Owings Mills. He began his culinary career in a CIA externship at the Kingsmill Resort and Conference Center in Williamsburg, Va. Over his career, he has managed all aspects of restaurant operations, trained and supervised restaurant staff and developed a broad range of menus. While sous chef at the Brass Elephant, Friendlich played a key role in the restaurant’s off-site catering, including serving as the chef for the events.