40 Under 40 Class of 2008

Michael Corduff

Age 36: Co-owner, Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting House

Michael Corduff was talking about banquets, events, and the need to be creative and cutting-edge in such work. Which brought him back to the goldfish.

It was the 2004 Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame dinner, and staff at the Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting House served sorbet in dishes atop glass bowls, each one containing a goldfish. The trick wasn’t so much in the presentation — although that was tricky — but in the preparation, specifically keeping and feeding the fish for three weeks before the event.

“They told us to get a few extra, because sometimes they don’t survive the trip from the bag to the jar,” Corduff recalled. “We stored them in our sous chef’s basement … we had to go around and feed 600 fish; that was really going above and beyond.”

Today, ownership at the Log Cabin, which later acquired the Delaney House restaurant in Holyoke, continues to go above and beyond, often with events to support area nonprofit agencies such as the United Way and the March of Dimes.

Corduff has played a pivotal role in these efforts since coming to the Log Cabin from the Springfield Marriott, which was his first career stop after emigrating from West Kerry in Ireland in 1989. He progressed from line cook to banquet chef at the Marriott, and was looking for a new challenge in the hospitality sector when he interviewed with Larry Perrault, then-restaurant manager at Twin Hills County Club. Perrault didn’t have a good match for him then, but advised him to check back in a few months, when he might have “something else.”

That something else turned out to be the Log Cabin, which Perreault had resurrected as a banquet facility with partner Peter Rosskothen. Corduff, named ‘chef of the year’ by the Mass. Restaurant Assoc. in 2001, would eventually become a partner, and today, he and Rosskothen remain as principals of this two-venue enterprise.

As he talked with BusinessWest, Corduff was preparing the Log Cabin for a night of boxing — an eight-bout card featuring New England area amateurs that reflected Holyoke’s tradition as a boxing hub. Like the goldfish, the boxing event was something different, something unique for this area.

You might say they were both events on a grand scale.

George O’Brien