“The first week, I flew to California and stayed with Jerry and Karen West, and we went around and studied steakhouses so we could open a signature restaurant for them at the hotel,” Rosendale recounted. The result, called Prime 44 West for the jersey number of the West Virginia native and longtime L.A. Laker player and general manager, was the first of three new eateries Rosendale would open in his first year.
The next year, while he was overseeing the resort’s food service, traveling nationally and internationally to recruit staff, and planting a new 40-acre produce farm for the hotel, he passed the rigorous eight-day examination necessary to become a certified master chef, a designation held by fewer than 100 people nationwide.
Rosendale insists he doesn’t have time for hobbies, but his long-standing interest in culinary competitions would probably fall into that category. In 2004, he was the youngest member of the ACF Culinary Olympic Team USA competing against 31 countries in Erfurt, Germany. In 2008, he captained the same team, which brought home three gold medals. The same year, he was a finalist in the Bocuse d’Or USA. He didn’t win, but Friedman noted in “Knives at Dawn” that the young chef had “exponentially more competition experience than the rest of the field combined.”
It’s Sunday morning at the Rosendale house, perched in the West Virginia hills a few miles north of Lewisburg, which was named 2011’s “Coolest Small Town in America” by Frommer’s Budget Travel magazine. Rich is standing at the stove in shorts, a Reebok T-shirt and bare feet, fixing a late breakfast for Laura and 4-year-old Laurence, while 5-month-old Liam eyes the proceedings. And what sort of tempting fare does a certified master chef, someone invited to cook with Thomas Keller and Emeril Lagasse, a man who has demonstrated his kitchen prowess on the “Today” show, prepare for his own family? “Scrambled eggs, bacon and toast,” he reveals.
Hmm. Well, he must be adding something to the eggs. “Salt and pepper,” he says. “But the eggs are fresh. I get them from a local farmer.”