Daniel Sosa, Executive Chef
Daniel was born in Bogota, Colombia, in a small family of four. He initially went to university to get a bachelor’s in industrial design.
While studying, Daniel was intrigued by people who worked with food, and that curiosity led him to decide to continue his education at Le Cordon Bleu.
After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa, Daniel eventually moved back to Colombia to continue his journey in the hospitality industry. He joined the culinary team at The Hilton Bogota, and after several promotions he got the opportunity to move to Panama to become executive sous chef and banquet chef for The Hilton Hotel.
Following a lot of hard work and training, Daniel was made executive chef, managing the kitchens at the two best hotels in Panama City: The Waldorf Astoria and The Hilton Hotel.
When did you realize you wanted to become a chef?
I realised how good food was for developing relationships, building memorable moments around it, and understanding how important it is to share your knowledge with others.
What’s the best thing about being a chef?
The team! They are everything, they are the best of us. They give us the opportunity to be creative, to share our life with them, to see a happy guest, to support us in the hard times. To teach and to learn. That’s the best part of our profession.
What are your main responsibilities? Talk us through your average working day…
I start with a daily check at both properties, ensuring the previous night went smoothly and everything is ready for the day ahead.
Later we hold a managers briefing, sharing important information with the rest of the managers. By noon the lunch service starts, I check everything is ready and after the rush is over we have lunch together. Before I leave I greet all the staff starting their shift, have a quick meeting with the chefs and supervisors to get everyone on the same page.
Is there anything that surprised you when starting the role?
How big a hotel operation is, what it involves and how important our role is in the industry and the community.
How do you work with your team? Any management tips?
My guys from the Waldorf and the Hilton are the heart of the operation. You have to build your team, you have to develop their skills. I’m always very honest with them, I am very respectful, I listen to them and I support them, and I like to remind them all the time the importance of tasting the food they make.
Why did you choose Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa?
Because of what Le Cordon Bleu represents to the culinary world, for the responsibility of carrying that background in your career, for the tradition and because I love Ottawa, its an amazing city to live in.
How did studying the Grand Diplôme® Professionnel help you to achieve your current role? What’s your fondest memory from Le Cordon Bleu?
It helped me to have strong knowledge of cuisine and pastry, to know where to go in terms of techniques and ingredients, it helped me to build disipline and consistency.
What’s your fondest memory from Le Cordon Bleu?
My fondest memories were during my pastry lessons with Chef Christian and Chef Herve, they were fantastic! The level of ability was amazing, I remember during our theory lessons learning the recipe and thinking in my head “how am I going to do that?” and then during the practical lessons, seeing the result was one of the most rewarding moments ever!
What has been the best moment in your career so far?
When I got promoted to executive chef for the first time, that was such an achievement for me and for my family!
What advice would you give to anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?
The best advice I can give to anyone who’s looking to follow in my footsteps is to keep in touch with the community, build a solid team, be consistent, clean your kitchen, be honest, taste your food, and work for the job you want not for the one you have.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
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