Behind The Menu With Worlds of Fun Executive Chef Wesley Boston
More and more, food is becoming a larger part of the overall theme park experience. From food festivals to “one-of-a-kind” menu items, you can rarely visit a park these days without taking part in some sort of culinary masterpiece. In fact, many parks around the country are hiring their own executive chefs. We’re back again for another look “behind the menu”, where we find out a little bit more about some of the people behind your favorite theme park fare.
This time, we’re talking with Worlds of Fun’s Executive Chef, Wesley Boston, who has been in that role at the park since July 2017.
C101: What’s your culinary background? How did you get your start as a chef?
Wesley Boston: I’ve worked in 22 states. At one point I had lived in 15 stated in 12 years. The first restaurant I worked at was a hot dog joint outside of Chicago. The owner needed a sanitation license. The classes were held at a community college. I went to sign up to take the class for the license and left that day fully enrolled in culinary school.
C101: How long cumulatively have you been a chef?
WB: 20 years.
C101: What made you decide to become a chef in the theme park industry?
WB: I wanted a change from day-to-day restaurant operations. The cycle of how the [theme park] season and off-season all come together is interesting to me. Also, the volume is incredible. In an amusement park there are no rules in creating dishes. It just has to be fun and delicious versus in a restaurant there can be many years of tradition and unwritten rules.
C101: How do you come up with new items to offer when “updating” a restaurant, or how do you craft the new menus and where do you draw your inspiration from?
WB: I watch a ton of travel channel and food network. I pay attention to flavor profiles when I eat out and I’m always thinking of what or how I would do a dish differently. As for inspiration, I take as much feedback as I can. People will tell you what they want to eat.
C101: How have you/will you put your personal touch on the menus at Worlds of Fun?
WB: Sprinkling in the freshest highest quality ingredients possible while empowering my culinary team to have an influence and be creative.
— Worlds of Fun (@worldsoffun) April 19, 2018
C101: Do you have a favorite food item at Worlds of Fun – the one thing you’d recommend if someone asked you what to order?
WB: I love the Atomic Sausage.
C101: How do you feel about food becoming a bigger part of the overall theme park experience?
WB: I grew up with an amusement park season pass. I grew up playing Roller Coaster Tycoon. I am the luckiest chef alive.
C101: What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?
WB: Working with so many young people and being a part of their development and growth.
C101: What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
WB: People come to an amusement park for the rides. The true challenge is to get them leaving here remembering the food.
C101: Since we are a roller coaster website – do you ever get to ride any of Worlds of Fun’s roller coasters, and what’s your favorite?
WB: I’ve stayed pretty busy. The second I get a chance the Mamba will be the first one I ride.
Thanks to Chef Wesley for his time, and to Chris Foshee at Worlds of Fun for helping facilitate this interview. You can follow Chef Wesley on twitter at @ChefWesley_WOF.
If you’re a Worlds of Fun Gold Passholder and want to try some of Chef Wesley’s newest creations, 2018 Gold Season Passholders will be able to enjoy one free tasting at one of four dining locations at Worlds of Fun on May 12, 13 or 19. More information can be found here!