I had a circuitous route to discovering Culinology®. I began cooking at an early age, offering my parents eggs in their choice of preparation while my little sisters played “waitress” around eight. After a series of food industry jobs throughout high school (manning the deli at the local supermarket or the snack bar at the local pool), I decided to make cooking my profession. I enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park where I attained an AOS in Culinary Arts and, thanks to my parent’s persuasion, a BA in Culinary Arts Management.
After graduation, I jumped in the New York City restaurant scene with both feet. After several years in NYC, I went west, first moving to Heber City, Utah to help a fried run an Inn and then to Eureka, CA, where I cooked at a very Napa-style restaurant. After a little while, I started missing the hustle and bustle of NYC and moved back to work with a culinary idol, Jean-George. While this was a dream job of mine, I began to lose my passion for cooking in restaurants. This was around the time I met my now wife and started getting hangovers and back pain. I was left to figure out how to parley my love of cooking and the knowledge and skill I had spent many hot, long and sometimes painful hours building up.
Through some research of my own and a few lucky breaks, I first discovered the field of food science and enrolled in Rutgers Universities Masters in Food Science program to learn the “why” portion of all of my experiences. During my first semester, I attended a lecture on Culinology® by then RCA President, Jeff Cousminer, and approached him to learn more about the practice and the association. I was hooked! It represented the perfect blend of my two passions and served as the community of peers who could help me make the difficult transition from restaurants to research. I joined RCA immediately and have found tremendous value in the association, its certification programs and the fraternity it offers.
I feel it is critical that an organization like RCA exists to help the many chefs who find themselves in similar situations as myself and offer students a clearer path to this great profession. When the opportunity came along for me to get involved in the leadership of the organization, I jumped at the chance to give back as it has given me so much both personally and professionally. I look forward to working to continue to grow and strengthen the RCA and I hope that it can continue to serve as a career springboard for future members.
I would love to hear your thoughts on ways we can continue to improve RCA and I look forward to serving it's membership.