Lawrence Wells of Camelot
Chef Lawrence Wells' journey throughout his culinary career began at the age of 14 in this mother's kitchen, continued through culinary schools, apprenticeships and positions in New York City, as well as positions in Washington, DC, and Miami. Wells' journey brought him to the Excalibur Hotel-Casino's Camelot, a fine dining restaurant, in December of 1997.
At age 15, steady employment at a McDonald's restaurant (from grill cook to second assistant to the general manager) cemented his four year culinary training at New York City's Food and Maritime Trade School, where he learned skills in food technology, baking, cooking, catering, merchandising, and meat cutting.
Upon graduation, he enrolled in the New York City Technical College School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, already possessing the necessary cooking skills. Wells easily found positions at Mariott at the JFK Airport, Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Harley Hotel, New York Hilton Hotel, Hilton Vista International Hotel, Essex House, Tavern on the Green, and Windows of the World in New York City.
The chef held two and three jobs while attending NYC Technical College, including three years at Hilton's test kitchen (where he tested over 7,000 recipes gathered from Hilton's properties worldwide). Here he "gained valuable knowledge in the development of techniques and recipes," as well as an awareness of his "creative ability in ethnic international cuisine." At the test kitchen he developed the skill of taking "a single product and preparing it into 10 to 15 different dishes," and, according to Wells, "a skill I utilize daily at Camelot."
His desire to work on a cruise line took him to maritime school Henry Lumberg in Piney Point, Maryland, to obtain his certificate as Chief Cook, Chief Baker, and Chief Steward. He then took employment with American Hawaiian Cruise Lines, where he developed skills in the South Pacific, Polynesian, and Malaysian styles of cooking, further enhancing his fusion cooking techniques.
His multifaceted experience proved valuable in an adjunct career as consultant in opening and restructuring fine dining establishments in New York, Washington, DC, and Miami. In addition to being inspired by his mother, Wells' mentors include Executive Chefs Dieter Hannig (now Vice President of Food & Beverage at Disney), Walter Plender (formerly of Hilton Vista International), Uwv Toulder (formerly of the New York Hilton), the late Patrick Clark (formerly of Tavern on the Green).
Asked about his philosophy in the culinary field, Wells replied "cooking is an experience with feeling and harmony, requiring patience." From this ethnic international experience, Chef Wells describes his cuisine as "new century into the next millennium, blending the influences of the Pacific Rim, French, Asian, Caribbean, South American, European, and New Floridian...balanced to open the palate and tasting the individual differences."
Excalibur's Executive Chef Lucio Arancibia has given Wells "carte blanche" in the kitchen of Camelot, where his repertoire consists of 450 special recipes to draw from--a factor in the success of Wells and Camelot. He is truly a "kitchen magician" that makes it all happen.
A Gourmet Chefs Hall of Fame inductee, Wells strives to be the best, and says he would like to "contribute to the culinary field by training youths to be creative in the American culinary arena."
Chef Wells' culinary creativity can be experienced at the Excalibur Hotel-Casino's Camelot, described as "casual fine dining in the the land of elegance where fine food reigns supreme."
Under the capable management of Anthony Botta, Camelot is open daily from 5:00 to 10:00pm, closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Please call (702) 597-7777 for reservations.