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National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and PepsiCo Foodservice’s “Project Taste Test” Showcases Diverse Careers in Restaurant Industry

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) released its third Project Taste Test – Servin’ Up Successful Careers video. The video series, created in partnership with PepsiCo Foodservice, features people who have built rewarding careers in the foodservice industry and highlights the diverse array of career paths and opportunities in the sector. 

- Third Installment in Video Series Features Executive Chefs from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and The Ahwahnee  hotel at Yosemite National Park-

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jan.27, 2015 – The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) released its third Project Taste Test – Servin’ Up Successful Careers video. The video series, created in partnership with PepsiCo Foodservice, features people who have built rewarding careers in the foodservice industry and highlights the diverse array of career paths and opportunities in the sector. The third Project Taste Test video features two accomplished chefs who have built foodservice careers at Delaware North, including Chef Gidget Wickham, executive chef at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, and Chef Percy Whatley, executive chef of The Ahwahnee hotel at Yosemite National Park. Whatley is also a regional executive chef for the company.

“PepsiCo Foodservice is pleased to present another edition of Project Taste Test, which helps us show high school students the possibilities that can come from a career in the foodservice industry,” said Anne Fink, chief operating officer, PepsiCo North America, Foodservice. “Chefs Wickham and Whatley are excellent examples of how students can follow their passion for food to build long-term, rewarding careers.”

Chef Wickham began her career as a sous chef at a fine dining establishment in Baltimore, Md. After attending the Baltimore International Culinary Arts Institute she worked her way through the ranks within Hyatt Hotels, working at several exciting destinations. In 2004, she accepted an opportunity with Delaware North at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. 

“If you are interested in the opportunity to work at global destinations and deliver a great customer experience, there is no limit to where you can go with a foodservice career,” said Christian De Vos, vice president of food and beverage, Delaware North. “Delaware North is pleased to be part of Project Taste Test to tell the story of Chefs Wickham and Whatley, who exemplify the fascinating career paths available in our industry.”

Similarly, Chef Whatley’s culinary career is one of opportunity and advancement. After holding a summer job at the Curry Village Hamburger Stand in Yosemite National Park as a teen, Whatley then took advantage of Yosemite’s seasonal employment opportunities while earning an Associates of Science Degree in Business Management from The College of the Redwoods in Eureka, Calif. Whatley attended the Culinary Institute of America and then returned to Yosemite as a sous chef at the historic Ahwahnee hotel. He and his family live in Yosemite National Park.

“Project Taste Test taps successful chefs and entrepreneursto show students how diverse and dynamic the career opportunities are within the restaurant industry,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president, strategic operations and philanthropy for the National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “We hope the exciting career paths of Chef Wickham and Chef Whatley inspire students to aim high and think big about how far they can go with their restaurant careers. From resorts to sporting venues and global destinations, this industry offers limitless advancement opportunities.”

Project Taste Test is available to ProStart educators for use in their classrooms. ProStart is a nationwide career technical education program where high-school students learn from an industry-derived, competency-based curriculum that teaches culinary techniques and restaurant management skills, coupled with real-life restaurant sector experiences. ProStart is taught to students across 49 states, Guam and on Department of Defense military bases. For more information on the ProStart program, visit or find us on Twitter or Facebook.In addition to the video series, which spotlights a day-in-the life of foodservice professionals, Project Taste Test consists of in-classroom discussion and activity guides.

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation:

As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF exists to enhance the restaurant industry’s service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities. The NRAEF works to attract, develop and retain a career-oriented professional workforce for the restaurant industry. The restaurant and foodservice industry comprises 980,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13 million employees, making it one of the nation's largest employers. For more information on the NRAEF, visit

About Delaware North

Delaware North is one of the largest and most admired, privately-held hospitality companies in the world. Founded and owned by the Jacobs family for nearly 100 years, it is a global leader in hospitality and food service with subsidiary and affiliate operations in the sports, travel hospitality, restaurants and catering, parks, resorts, gaming and specialty retail industries. Its portfolio includes high-profile venues ranging from sports stadiums, entertainment complexes, national parks, restaurants, airports, and some of the top regional casinos in the country. The company also owns a selection of award-winning destination resorts, as well as a series of premium restaurants and catering services that are leaders in the industry. Delaware North has annual revenue exceeding $3 billion with 60,000 employee associates serving half a billion guests in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia.

About PepsiCo

PepsiCo is a global food and beverage leader with net revenues of more than $65 billion and a product portfolio that includes 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales. Our main businesses – Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay and Pepsi-Cola – make hundreds of enjoyable foods and beverages that are loved throughout the world. PepsiCo’s people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth by investing in a healthier future for people and our planet, which we believe also, means a more successful future for PepsiCo. We call this commitment Performance with Purpose: PepsiCo’s promise to provide a wide range of foods and beverages for local tastes; to find innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment by conserving energy and water and reducing packaging volume; to provide a great workplace for our associates; and to respect, support and invest in the local communities where we operate. For more information, please visit

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