I was a music major, but throughout college I worked in restaurants for extra cash. I always worked in the front of the house (waiting tables) but was always drawn to the back of the house and spent a lot of time in the kitchen watching the cooks and asking questions. Ultimately I migrated to the kitchen and eventually took it over – with friends we opened one white tablecloth restaurant and one rib house, and we were successful. I won a national contest for professional chefs where the grand prize was a trip to Germany to the Culinary Olympics, where I met so many influential people and eventually was hired by the executive chef at The Greenbrier Resort (a 5-star, 5-diamond resort). I worked in their fine dining restaurant and became their cooking school director. This cooking school featured the country’s top chefs and top cookbook authors, and I was fortunate enough to work with them all – Julia Child, Jean-Louis Palladin, Marcel Desaulniers, Rick Bayless, Louis Osteen, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken, Nathalie Dupree, Rose Levy Berenbaum, Graham Kerr, Andre Soltner, Jasper White, and Patrick O’Connell, just to name a few. I was at The Greenbrier for 13 years before my husband was transferred to Delaware.
I once told an employer that I had demi-glace in my veins (it worked and got me a position back in the kitchen/culinary school!)..and it’s true! I cook all the time at home. I love seafood of all kinds, most especially scallops and cook them often. I also love all vegetables! My husband and I do some catering on the side and are known for our pulled pork BBQ and our crabcakes. I am not as well versed in pastry as in savory cuisine but love to bake and make desserts too. Current favorite restaurants? One Coastal, Lewes Oyster House and Bluecoast Seafood.
Chef/Culinary Instructor Riki Senn currently educates at Caesar Rodney High School, where she has mentored their ProStart team to 4 statewide Student Invitational wins, and led the team to a 1st Place victory at the National Student Invitational in 2022 and 2nd Place in 2023. She was awarded the DE ProStart “Educator of the Year” Award by the Delaware Restaurant Foundation in 2022, and has been recognized on the floor of Legislative Hall multiple years for her service and dedication to ProStart students and mentoring the next generation of Delaware’s industry leaders.