Holiday Inn hires notable chef

He’s cooked for the Queen, medalled at international culinary competitions and was responsible for the infamous oatmeal raisin cookie that contributed to the demise of Stephen Duckett, the former CEO of Alberta Health Services.

Afzal Rajan

Afzal Rajan

He’s cooked for the Queen, medalled at international culinary competitions and was responsible for the infamous oatmeal raisin cookie that contributed to the demise of Stephen Duckett, the former CEO of Alberta Health Services.

Soon, Emmanuel David will be serving up meals at a Gasoline Alley hotel.

The Edmonton chef has been hired to oversee food operations at the Holiday Inn hotel that is currently under construction on the east side of Hwy 2, on Red Deer’s southern outskirts.

“Red Deer is very, very fortunate to have that caliber of chef in the city,” said Afzal Rajan, president of developer Zainul & Shazma Holdings (1997) Ltd.

David’s resume includes work as executive chef at the Hotel Saskatchewan in Regina, where in 1987 he prepared a state dinner for Queen Elizabeth II. He’s been featured in Chef of America magazine and has won gold and silver medals as a member of Culinary Team Alberta and Culinary Team Canada at chef competitions in Europe and the United States.

In the 1990s David worked at Edmonton’s Holiday Inn — The Palace, which Rajan owned at the time. He later became executive chef and co-owner of Dante’s Bistro in Edmonton, which evolved into the Shark Club. Most recently, he’s headed the kitchen staff at La Persaud Food & Beverage Corp.

It was La Persaud that provided the food for the Alberta Health Services meeting where Duckett dismissed reporters with a wave of his cookie — a David creation.

At Red Deer’s new Holiday Inn, David will be responsible for food at the family restaurant and lounge, and also the conference centre. Outside catering is also a possibility, said Rajan.

“If there’s a demand, we’ll do it.”

The 114-room Holiday Inn is expected to open in June. With an anticipated cost of $18 million, it will include a waterslide and pool, and is expected to employ between 80 and 100 full- and part-time staff.

The conference centre will be big enough to accommodate 450 people, 500 with theatre-style seating, said Rajan. There will be no pillars in the sprawling room, he pointed out, a design feature made possible by bringing in massive steel beams from Germany.

“It’s over a quarter million dollars,” said Rajan, adding that this investment is worth it.

“Especially for the wedding market and conferences, people don’t like to see three or four pillars. That really disrupts the head table if there’s a pillar in the middle.”

A fountain will grace the foyer outside the conference area, with a curved corridor connecting this area to the lobby. Even the windows in the passageway — which were shipped in from Ontario — will be curved, said Rajan.

He placed the cost of glass alone for the building at more than $400,000.

Rajan thinks the project’s timing is good, with 2011 expected to be a much stronger year economically than the last two. He’s optimistic his hotel’s central location on the Hwy 2 corridor will make it a popular meeting place, and thinks its proximity to Westerner Park will generate business.

Hwy 2 travellers are also likely to stop at the hotel, with other guests finding their way there via Holiday Inn’s reservation system.

“Plus, Gasoline Alley is really growing,” said Rajan.

Zainul & Shazma Holdings also operates the Holiday Inn Express outlets in Red Deer, Rocky Mountain House, Edson and Hinton, plus another full-service Holiday Inn at Hinton. Rajan previously owned the Red Deer Travelodge and Super 8 Motel.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

With a ban on sit-in dining once again in place, Las Palmeras owner Andre Lemus is gearing up for more takeout and delivery business. He has also applied to set up and outdoor patio, where dining is allowed under new restrictions. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Big interest in outdoor patios in Red Deer as sit-down dining banned again

City of Red Deer has tweaked its patio regulations to make it easier to get a permit

Artist Delree Dumont has painted an Indigenous mural at St. Joseph High School. (Contributed photo)
Indigenous mural painted on Red Deer high school walls

A new Indigenous mural now sits on the walls of St. Joseph… Continue reading

Jessica Swainson learned about improvisation and filmmaking at The Hub on Ross before its closure. She’s pictured here with her former Hub instructor Jason Steele. (Contributed photo).
Red Deer city, arts council are working to close ‘gaps’ left by The Hub’s closure

Could some popular Hub programs be resurrected at Northside Community Centre?

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Experts warn of economic implications from Rogers wireless outage

A massive wireless outage that has left customers of Rogers Communications Inc.… Continue reading

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivers the federal budget in the House of Commons as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on in Ottawa on Monday April 19, 2021. The federal government unveiled spending plans to manage the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis and chart an economic course for a post-pandemic Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal Budget 2021: Liberals bank on child care, business aid to prod growth

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are betting that billions more in debt… Continue reading

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

VICTORIA — The University of Victoria says the head coach of its… Continue reading

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley announces proposed new legislation to protect Alberta’s mountains and watershed from coal mining at a news conference in Calgary on Monday, March 15, 2021. A group of 35 scientists from the University of Alberta are urging the provincial government to rethink its plans for expanding coal-mining in the Rocky Mountains. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta scientists urge adoption of bill that would protect against coal mining

EDMONTON — Some 35 scientists from the University of Alberta are urging… Continue reading

A driver shows identification to an Ottawa police officer as a checkpoint as vehicles enter the province from Quebec Monday April 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Quebec and Ontario impose travel restrictions to slow surging virus variants

Ontario and Quebec imposed new interprovincial travel restrictions on Monday amid growing… Continue reading

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange was in Red Deer on Friday to provide an update on the province's COVID-19 response in schools.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
LaGrange: Feedback needed to refine curriculum

As the Minister of Education my role has been guided by a… Continue reading

In this Feb. 24, 2020, photo, the Olympics rings are reflected on the window of a hotel restaurant as a server with a mask sets up a table, in the Odaiba section of Tokyo. The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with less than 1% vaccinated. This of course is spilling over to concerns about the postponed Tokyo Olympics that open in just over three months.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Will Japanese Olympians be vaccinated ahead of the public?

TOKYO — The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with… Continue reading

PSG's Kylian Mbappe, right, greets Bayern's Lucas Hernandez at the end of the Champions League, second leg, quarterfinal soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Bayern Munich at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, France, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
PSG, Bayern the big names missing from Super League plan

DÜSSELDORF, Germany — The plan for the new Super League soccer competition… Continue reading

Most Read