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Spotlight on our Chefs

Our Chefs create craveable experiences and raveable results every day here at the Raleigh Convention Center, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Red Hat Amphitheater.

Executive Regional Chef
Don Burchell

"I take a simple, honest approach to food. The freshness takes me back to my childhood days at the farmer’s market."

Growing up in Southwest Michigan, Don Burchell spent his weekend mornings selling fresh produce at the local farmer's market. He’d then wash dishes at an Italian restaurant in the evening. The chef began moving him around the kitchen so he could soak up all facets of working there. By the time he was out of high school, he was already running his own kitchen. He had found his lifelong passion.

In his early 20s, Burchell moved to San Diego and apprenticed under classically trained European chefs. He soon took on leadership roles at California luxury destinations like The Intercontinental Hotel, Ritz Carlton, Westin, Top of the Cove, La Maison Des Pescadoux, Le Ste. Maxime and La Boheme. He also worked in the private villa of a Saudi Royal Family.

In 1988, Chef Burchell moved to Atlanta, eventually taking the Executive Chef's position at the Hotel Nikko. He was soon awarded the Hotel Nikkos' Hospitality Award and the prestigious Fountain Award. Nikko was rated by Zagat as the 47th ranking hotel in the country under his supervision.

When the Hotel Nikko went up for sale 1996, Chef Burchell accepted a position with The Cobb Galleria (the company that is now Centerplate), moving on to the Columbia Convention Center and on to his current home at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Throughout his career, Chef Burchell had the pleasure of serving a spectrum of celebrities and dignitaries. A short includes George Bush, Jr. Gerald Ford, Margaret Thatcher, Newt Gingrich, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Sam Snead, Elton John, Alice Waters, Barbara Bush, Ted Turner, Jane Fonda and The Abdulaziz Royal Family.

• Awarded the Restaurant of Year by Holiday Magazine (La Boheme)
• Named one of America’s Outstanding Chefs (Chefs 2000)
• Former Vice-President of 'Les Touques Blanches'
• Founding Member, United Culinary Arts Assocation

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Executive Sous Chef
Nick Lewis

"I like to keep my cuisine simple with a few really fresh ingredients. People ‘eat’ with their eyes first, so presentation is important to me."

Chef Nick Lewis started his culinary career at the age of 19 cooking for the fine dining restaurant, Crippens Country Inn, in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. While studying Food Systems Management at Appalachian State University, he became Sous Chef within three years and began the foundation of his culinary career.

The following years, Chef Nick Lewis’ goal was to work in the top restaurants in North Carolina. In 2010 he began working at Four Square Restaurant in Durham where he learned farm to table dining and menu development. From 2011 to 2014 he worked at the only two Relais and Chateaux restaurants in North Carolina. Nick worked at the Westglow Spa and Resort in the mountains and learned about high-end ingredients and menu creations. In 2012 he began working at the Fearrington House Restaurant in Pittsboro, where he cooked Five-Star cuisine using local ingredients. While Nick Lewis was at the Fearrington house they received Grand Chef, Five-Star, and Five Diamond AAA awards. Here, he worked private dinners and book signings with guest chefs like Thomas Keller (French Laundry and Per Se), John Currence (City Grocery) and Ed Lee (Top Chef).

Taking the next step, Chef Nick Lewis received an opportunity with Centerplate at the Raleigh Convention Center in 2014. Since being with Centerplate he has worked several large events such as the Super Bowl 50 in California and The Republican Forum in South Carolina.

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