Vincent DeFinis


"Before World War II, catering was a status symbol for the very rich. Most of the catering occurred in hotels where the rich had a home away from home, where they sometimes occupied an entire floor. Many of these families were from Europe and so they stayed for long periods of time. Most had their own staff when they entertained. The Maitre'D was a very respected person who supervised this staff."

Historical information on this page was adapted from an article by Larry Osburn, CPCE, former NACE Region 3 Vice President and National Historian, based on an interview with Vince DeFinis, CPCE. Vincent DeFinis, CPCE, started in the hotel industry in 1932 and worked in all the food and beverage departments of service under European chefs in front operations with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Systems. In World War II, Vince served in the Air Force as Food Supervisor for the largest air depot in the European theatre of operations for the Eighth Air Force Service Command. During his association with the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel as Director of Catering, he personally arranged functions for eight Presidents: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Carter and Bush, as well as many foreign dignitaries and heads of state. For over fifty years, he has served in almost every executive capacity in the hospitality industry. He was the oldest living NACE member until his passing in November 2007. He was named “Man of the Year in 1971 by the National Food Service Executive Association and received the first “Hall of Fame” award from NACE in 1998.