Chef Gulbrandsen Wins Big Again!

The 5th Annual Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Chefs’ Challenge event was held on June 30th, 2016. The competition took place at the Excelsior Springs Ballroom, a BBLH property, located in Saratoga Springs.

Returning Champion Thomas Gulbrandsen, Executive Chef at The Courtyard by Marriott & Excelsior Springs, is the winner of the 2016 Chef’s Challenge. Chef Thomas competed against Robert Ryan, Executive Chef at Mallozzi’s, the 2015 People’s Choice Winner.  Kevin & Shanna from the 99.5 River Morning Show were the hosts for the evening.

Iron Roost won the People’s Choice Award and will be competing against Chef Thomas Gulbrandsen in the 2017 Chefs’ Challenge. The People’s Choice competition consisted of local eateries including Prime at Saratoga National, Blue Agave, Reel Seafood, Three Vines Bistro, Skidmore College Dinning Services, and Iron Roost.

The cocktail competitors included Third Time Champion Brown’s Malt Room and Blue Agave. Congratulations to Chef Thomas Gulbrandsen on another amazing win!



BBLH Executive Chef Victorious in Chef Challenge Event

BBLH Executive Chef Thomas Gulbrandsen recently won the “People’s Choice Award” at the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Chef’s Challenge event on July 31st. The competition took place at the Excelsior Springs Banquet Facility, a BBLH property, located in Saratoga Springs and was hosted by Kevin & Shanna from the River Morning Show.  Food competitors included DUO, Cafe Calabria, Carney’s Tavern, Lucas Confectionery,Carmen’s Cafe, Capital City Gastropub, and Reel Seafood Co.  Beverage competitors included Brown’s Malt Room and Athos.

A large showing of 250 people attended all of which had the opportunity to sample signature dishes and beverages from each of the competitors.  These guests ultimately determined the “2014 People’s Choice Champion”.

As a result of Chef Thomas’ victory this year, he will compete in the 2015 Chef’s Challenge against the 2014 Chef’s Challenge Winner.

Congratulations again to Chef Thomas Gulbrandsen!


Chef Tom Excelsior Challenge

Culinary Cornucopia 2013

Congratulations to Executive Chef Thomas Gulbrandsen for winning a Gold Medal and the title of Grand Champion at this year’s Culinary Cornucopia. There are typically several gold medals given out at this event but this year there was only one and it was awarded to Thomas. This competition was held on November 10th at the Albany Marriott to benefit Living Resources. The event has historically raised $65,000 to $70,000 for this local charity. Ten chefs from various hotels, restaurants and catering companies compete and are judged by a panel of American Culinary Federation judges.

Thomas’s dish was called Duo of Hudson Valley Duck. This decadent creation consisted of seared Foie Gras with braised apple, pan roasted sliced breast of duck, black cherry merlot duck jus, poached garlic potato puree, and baby autumn vegetables. This is a very prestigious award and a great accomplishment for Chef Thomas and BBL Hospitality!


dish jeremy and thomas

Jeremy Kane Promoted to Corporate Executive Chef with BBL Hospitality

Jeremy Kane, the acclaimed chef at the Hilton Garden Inn Troy, was recently promoted to corporate executive chef at BBL Hospitality. In this new role, he will continue to oversee the food and beverage operation at the hotel, while taking on the added responsibilities of overseeing the culinary teams in West Virginia, Saratoga, and all other new BBL properties.

Last year, chef Kane was hired as the executive chef at the BBL-owned Hilton Garden Inn Troy and the Rensselaer Banquet & Conference Facility.

“In that short time he has proven he has the skills and experience to lead the culinary team at BBL Hospitality,” said Carrie Hillenbrandt, corporate director of sales at BBL Hospitality.

Prior to joining BBL Hospitality, Kane was the executive chef at Classé Catering in Albany. His résumé also includes sous chef at the award-winning Ashleys at the Albany Marriott, and executive chef at the esteemed Albany Country Club. Chef Kane has competed in numerous American Culinary Federation competitions. Along the way he has earned several awards, most recently winning the cornucopia grand award in 2005, 2008 and 2009.

“Jeremy’s work ethic, skill set, and passion are unmatched, and we are looking forward to sharing his expertise with our other properties,” said Hillenbrandt.

BBL Hospitality is part of the BBL Family of Companies, which includes the Albany-based BBL Construction Services. The company was founded in 1973, and has since grown to a nationally recognized company.

The newest branch of the BBL Family of Companies, BBL Hospitality was founded in 2000. Currently, BBL Hospitality owns 14 hotels, 10 of which the company actively manages.

Additionally, the company owns and operates 12 sports-themed restaurants throughout New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and West Virginia.