Like many chefs today, Celebrity chef speaker Dean Thomas found his passion for food as a dishwasher for a small Italian restaurant in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois. After studying culinary arts at Joliet Junior College, Chef Thomas moved to Hilton Head, South Carolina where he would eventually become Outlet Chef at the Westin Hilton Head 5-Diamond Resort’s eatery, Carolina Café. His success at Westin caught the eye of executives, and he was soon asked to head to Tucson, Arizona, where he would become head chef at the Westin La Paloma Country Club.
After a short sabbatical in the Virgin Islands, Dean Thomas returned to La Paloma to work yet again at the Westin Resort. He became a competitive chef, winning such competitions as the Arizona Taste of Elegance, the National Taste of Elegance, and the Pork Recipe Grand Prize, and receiving several ACF medallions. Following his time in Arizona, Chef Dean was hired by the New England Culinary Institute to become an Executive Sous Chef at the Essex Campus. Thomas would spend nearly a decade working with college-age students, educating them on culinary arts and teaching cooking skills and techniques that would mold them into some of the most talented chefs today.
Following his work at NECI, Celebrity Chef Speaker Dean Thomas became an executive chef for Barona Valley Ranch Resort and Casino in Southern California. Today, he oversees twelve different food venues within the casino and is a member of the board of the San Diego Chapter of the American Culinary Federation.