Skip to main content

Rattlers sous chef recognized by American Culinary Federation

Chris Prentice receives Culinary Leadership Award

share arrow printer bookmark flag

November 29, 2023

APPLETON – It may not come as a surprise to know that the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers – the Midwest League affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers – has brought home a handful of league titles in its decades-long history.

What may not be as well known is the organization’s food and beverage department has a few trophies of its own as well.

The most recent recognition goes to Chris Prentice, the team’s executive sous chef, who was awarded the Culinary Leadership Award from the American Culinary Federation’s Fox Valley Chapter (ACF-Fox Valley) during the sixth annual Hospitality Awards Gala last month.

The focus of the gala is to honor members of the hospitality industry, while raising money for Fox Valley Technical College culinary student scholarships.

Nominated by Charles Behrmann, the team’s executive chef, Prentice was recognized for his work with the “Leaven Dinner” fundraising event, as well as the Timber Rattlers’ annual charity golf outing and various other initiatives in the community. 

“Chris has a passion for making great food and putting a smile on peoples’ faces,” Behrmann, who won a pandemic leadership award from ACF-Fox Valley in 2021, said. “We are honored to have Chris on the food and beverage team and very proud that he has won this award.”

Humbled by the honor, Prentice said his culinary journey has been anything but straightforward.

Chris Prentice

“It’s pretty amazing, especially since I didn’t start in culinary,” he said. “To get an award is pretty exciting, and I’m very honored.”

An Appleton native, Prentice earned a degree in wildlife ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

After graduation, he moved to Tennessee to work with elephants at the Knoxville Zoological Gardens, but said when that didn’t pan out, he moved back to Wisconsin and took a series of positions in the food and beverage industry – including at the Marq by Festival, the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, the Oshkosh Convention Center and the Cobblestone Creek – honing his cooking skills as he went along.

When the sous chef position for the Timber Rattlers opened, Prentice said he made his move and hasn’t looked back.

Nearly 12 years into his tenure with the organization, Prentice said he has no regrets.

“It’s a very family-oriented company,” he said. “It’s a fun place to work, and not a lot of people can say they work at a baseball stadium.” 

Ryan “Pooby” Grossman, food and beverage director for the Timber Rattlers, said Prentice is well deserving of the award.

“He’s a hard worker and he gets right into the mix of it,” Grossman said. “He’s not afraid to jump in anywhere, and he always has a plan. He is very deserving of this award.”

Food and beverage department 
Fox Cities Stadium hosts 15 concession stands selling a variety of foods and beverages during the baseball season.

But, Grossman said the work doesn’t end when the season ends.

The food and beverage team is also responsible for events at the Fox Club, the stadium’s on-site banquet venue, which hosts upscale or casual weddings, corporate events, meetings, holiday parties, bridal showers and receptions.

Grossman said the club can accommodate small and large gatherings up to 250 guests comfortably.

“Baseball is our primary business, but on the banquet side we’re having our best year,” he said. “We do all our food and beverages in house – we’re not contracted out.”

The food and beverage department team at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium – home of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers – is made up of four staff members – Chris Prentice, Ryan Grossman, Charles Behrmann and Megan Andrews. The Business News File Photo

The food and beverage department team is made up of four staff members (Grossman, Behrmann, Prentice and Megan Andrews, the assistant food and beverage director) dedicated full-time to the Fox Club itself, which Grossman said allows for consistency. 

“Chris and Charlie play a vital role in the event space,” he said. “They work in tandem to accomplish those events.”

Prentice said it’s fun working with Behrmann in the kitchen.

“I’m learning pretty much every day how to make new things and cook new items, improving my culinary skills and doing things I never learned before,” he said.

Grossman said the food and beverage team is a tight-knit group all focused providing consistent food quality and service.

“If you surround yourself with good people, it makes life easier,” he said. “We also stay current with trends, and we’re open to what our attendees want in terms of dietary needs.”

share arrow printer bookmark flag