Executive Chef - John Ruszala graduated from Frankfort - Schuyler school, MVCC and SUNY at Utica-Rome. He started his career working as a dishwasher in high school and then worked as a student manager for ARA Services and Sedexo-Marriot while in college. His first job out of college was at Vernon Downs as a steward followed by purchasing food, liquor and supplies for all of the restaurants and concession stands. John then owned his own diner in the former Banker's Trust Building for three years and from there went onto the Yahnundasis Golf Club. John then agreed to a position at the Red Lion as a chef where he created an English Pub menu along with East Indian specialties. The Red lion became one of the first restaurants in the area to introduce, Cajun, Indonesian, and Indian cuisine in the area. John's next stop was the Landmark Tavern working as a chef and then onto the Radisson Utica Centre as Executive Chef. In 2000 John accepted a position as a Executive Sous Chef at Turning Stone Resort and Casino. He was in charge of various areas creating new menus that greatly increased the number of customers at the Garden Buffet. John was also in charge of the Event Center, Delta Café and the first year of concessions for the PGA championship held at Atunyote Golf course. It is with great pleasure for the past two years to have John Ruszala as our Executive Chef at Vernon Downs casino and Hotel.
Head Chef - James Morgan graduated from VVS High school and worked for the New York State Thruway. He then carved his path as a landscaper followed by nine years at Oneida Limited. James big break came when he started cooking at the Mason Jar Restaurant in Vernon and was eventually promoted to head chef. James continued onto the Town and Country Restaurant for 4 years, then purchased the place in 1990 successfully operating the restaurant for seventeen years.
Sous Chef - Kristopher Upon graduating from Herkimer high school Chef Kristopher started his career in cooking, softly working for Heidelberg bakery and a local pizzeria. Making a move to the southern tier to attend SUNY New Paltz to work on a fine arts degree he found a position as a prep cook at the award winning and iconic Main Street Bistro in downtown New Paltz. This would spark a passion for culinary arts and lead Kristopher to change course and attend the Culinary Institute of America. The new millennium would give him an opportunity to expand his horizons with a move to south beach in Miami Florida where he worked under fellow alum and now entrepreneur Andrea Cutro at the five diamond Wish Restaurant . Though family pulled Kristopher back to New York's Mohawk valley he would find a chance to work with a great chef, John Lenard for a short time at the Mohawk Station as Banquet chef. But yet again; Chef Kristopher still wanted more and this time it would be a move to the Adirondacks. The historic Long View Lodge in Long Lake was where he took helm as executive chef / general manger for several years. The Lodge would be sold years later which again lead him back to Central New York and a position at Turning Stone Resort and Casino as Banquet Sous Chef. This allowed him to be involved with various events, From PGAs to grand weddings and everything in between. Missing The al carte and creative side of his career he found a position as executive chef at the Lake House in Richfield Springs were for over a year he would create seasonal menus, offer five course wine pairing dinners and expand on their banquet business. In October of 2012 Kristopher found himself wanting more and was hired as our Sous Chef for Champions Buffet and banquet preparation. With Kristopher's passion and love for the culinary arts makes him a valuable member of our team. Say hello to Sous Chef Kristopher.