Darren M. Molnar–Executive Chef
Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace
Military Branch: Navy
Years Served: 5 Active/ 2 Reserves
MOS: Aviation Boatswains Mate 3rd Class / USS Kearsarge LHD-3 Fight Deck Operations
I am currently the Executive Chef at The Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace, Prior to this position, I was the Executive Sous Chef at The Waldorf Astoria Orlando /Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. I oversee all aspects of both culinary and stewarding departments for the Ten Food and Beverage outlets at the property ranging from, Modern American, pool side quick service, in room dinning, grab and go as well as a three meal bistro. I am responsible for food quality, sanitation, food safety and I also oversee all costs incurred in regards to culinary and stewarding departments including labor and food costs. I am also responsible for leading 80 Plus Team Members and 8 Sous Chefs. Guest satisfaction is our overall goal and what keeps us focused.
How did you get the job?
In 2009 I had the opportunity to apply as the opening Executive Sous Chef at The Waldorf Astoria Orlando and was given the chance to work for Hilton Currently as of October 1, 2015. I was then promoted to Executive Chef at The Newly Renovated Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace.
Why did you choose this job?
I was drawn to the Hilton brand because of the quality and integrity of the company. I believe Hilton is a good fit for veterans because there is a plethora of opportunity for advancement for someone seeking a career, very similar to the Military. I chose a career in the Culinary Arts because I truly have a passion and love for cooking. It provides me with a great deal of satisfaction and fulfillment.
What was the biggest transition headache?
I was faced with a lot of challenges but I think the biggest thing for me was deciding to go to culinary school and pursue a career in the culinary arts. At first it seemed intimidating and overwhelming the amount of knowledge that there was to learn. I would tell any veteran who is interested in working for Hilton, to be yourself and find something that you truly enjoy doing. The hospitality industry is very rewarding with a great deal of variety and opportunity.
What skills did you bring with you?
The skills that were instilled in me when I was in the Service that I use daily are organization, prioritizing, making detailed lists, and communication between team members.