SODEL’s Ronnie Burkle Joins Delaware Botanic Gardens Advisory Council


Renowned chef and SODEL Corporate Chef, Ronnie Burkle has accepted the invitation to be a member of the Delaware Botanic Gardens (DBG) Advisory

The Advisory Council is a group of distinguished public and private sector leaders who are assisting in the creation of the Delaware Botanic

The Advisory Council is chaired by Delaware’s First Lady, Carla Markell. “Shortly before his tragic death, Matt Haley had accepted our invitation to join the Delaware Botanic Gardens Advisory Council.

As a vivid demonstration of how Matt’s successors are keeping Matt’s spirit alive, SODEL President Scott Kammerer has designated Ronnie Burkle to carry forward Matt’s commitment to the Delaware Botanic Gardens” said Mrs. Markell. Scott Kammerer said “I will honor Matt’s passion, his vision and his determination to give back to the
community where we do business and where we live.”

Michael Zajic, President of DBG, said, “Ronnie Burkle is a well known and respected chef here in Delmarva. His presence on the Advisory Council brings a representative of one of Delaware’s leading companies to our organization.

Ronnie brings a new generational perspective and his personal creativity will add a dimension to the Advisory Council.”

Ronnie Burkle said, “I am honored to represent my mentor, Matt Haley and to fulfill the commitment Matt made to this great project. Matt understood the value and benefits of creating a great public garden here in Delaware. Like Matt, I will be particularly interested in the educational role the Botanic Gardens will have with children.

I and the entire SODEL organization believe in this project and we are committed to helping it become a reality. It is a great honor to have this
opportunity to work with Carla Markell and this dedicated group of community leaders. ”

The Advisory Council is led by Mrs. Markell and includes Holly Shimizu, emerita Executive Director of the United States Botanic Garden; Collin O’Mara, Director of the National Wildlife Federation; Hugh Leahy, former Senior Vice President of the Delaware Community Foundation; Nelson Shaffer, Executive VicePresident/Chief Administrative Officer of Pennoni Associates; and Rodney Robinson, one of the region’s leading landscape architects.

The Delaware Botanic Gardens is a ten year, multi-phase plan to bring a sense of place to Delmarva with a major public garden that reflects southern Delaware’s unique coastal plain. It’s mission is to create inspirational,
educational, and sustainable gardens in Delaware for the benefit and enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. The gardens will be located on 37 acres along Piney Neck Road, near Dagsboro in Sussex County. The parcel has an ideal mix of farmland, woodland and over 1000 feet of tidal waterfront on Pepper Creek.

Ground breaking is planned for early spring 2015, with an opening of the first phase of the garden in 2017.