Chef Leon West was born into a family of eight children in Boston Massachusetts in 1946. His extraordinary career as a chef started in 1962 when he was a busboy and dishwasher at the old Jonny’s Diner in his home town. While working at the neighborhood grocery store, Chef Leon learned how to order a substantial amount of product early in life. Chef Leon attended the Massachusetts Vocational and Technical School’s Culinary Arts Program. He received his on the job training with the Sheraton Hotel in Boston.
Executive Chef Leon West Executive Chef
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
Executive Chef Leon West is a graduate of the Massachusetts Vocational and Technical School’s Culinary Arts Program. He received his on-the-job training with the Sheraton Hotel in Boston. Chef West was certified on July 14, 1970, by the Massachusetts Restaurant Association.
Chef West began his career with ARAMARK in 1978. After only five years, he accepted the position of Executive Chef of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. He arrived in New Orleans in 1984 with his wife and seven daughters, while the newly constructed building was in use as the centerpiece of the World’s Fair. Chef West has been recognized among his peers, both locally and internationally, as one of New Orleans’ most talented chefs. He has delighted the most discriminating tastes with his versatile talents and his unique ability to adapt from small elegant functions to dinners for over 12,000 attendees. Over the years, he has effectively managed a staff of over 200 cooks and pantry personnel.
The outstanding characteristics of Chef West are dedication, willingness to create the extraordinary under extreme pressure, and being well versed in every aspect of cooking. He personifies this by working 12, 15, even 20 hours a day.
Some of his more outstanding accomplishments include:
- The Republican Party’s Salute to Nancy Reagan (4,200 Guests).
- A $1,000 per plate Fund-Raiser for George Bush (5,000 Guests).
- 1986 And 1997 National Football League Commissioner’s Party.
- Corporate meeting that served over 35,000 people in a 24 hour period to include:
- Breakfast, Lunch, Reception followed by Breakfast the next day.
- Host Executive Chef for the Hot Foods Competition in conjunction with The
- Louisiana Restaurant Association Food Show.
- Maitre Des Cuisines at International Culinary Society-Chaine Des Rotisseurs’ Exclusive Dinner (February 1992, June of 2002 and July of 2006).
- Cover Story of Chef’s Magazine-December 1995.
- Inducted Into The Chaine Des Rotisseurs Gourmet Society on December 9th,1995
- Received “Chef of The Year” Honors From The American Culinary Federation (ACF) New Orleans Chapter (1996).
- Inducted into A Taste of Heritage Foundation’s African-American Chef’s Hall of Fame in 1997
- Executive Chef of the “Taste of the NFL” in 2002.
- Received the American Culinary Federation Medallion for Culinary Excellence in 2011.
Chef Leon West is routinely honored for his participation in annual community events to include: Dollars for Scholars, YMCA, Christmas in October, Friends of City Park, Great Expectations, N.O. Aids Task Force, Cherish the Children, and the Sugarplum Ball to benefit Children’s Hospital. He works closely with Second HarvestersFoodBankaswellastheBridgeHouseandOzanamInntohelpfeedthoseinneed. Additionally, as a member of the American Culinary Federation, New Orleans Chapter, Chef Leon participated in an event recognizing thirty-five local Chefs to raise money for both Children’s Hospital and New Orleans Culinary Students.
In addition to producing these large, high profile events, Chef Leon has continued his training with the Culinary Institute. He successfully completed courses in Ingredients and Flavor Dynamics in December of 2001andProChefinAugustof2003. HeisanactivememberintheLocalChapteroftheAmericanCulinary Federation and has been awarded the A.C.F.N.O. President’s Award.
He has been recognized among his peers, both locally and internationally, as one of New Orleans most talented chefs.