Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Focus on Culinary

What it means to have eight ACF certified chef’s at a university…

In a word, “awesome.” Rice University currently has four ACF Certified Executive Chef’s, a Certified Sous Chef, a Certified Chef de Cuisine, and two Certified Working Pastry Chefs who have all certified while working here. Education for the students is our primary mission, but the ability to grow our staff professionally should not be ignored. This model has provided us with extraordinary food, training, safety, and sustainable growth initiatives. It does not stop there however… We currently have three candidates who will try to certify as Executive Chef’s this year as well as three more candidates who are vying to become Sous Chef’s concurrently.

Additionally, two of our Executive Chef’s are Practical Examiners (ACE) which means they certify chef’s from our region. Rice University is an ACF accredited examination site as well. The opportunity to work with this kind of talent ensures that culinary excellence will be achieved continuously. It is the driving force behind a 90% scratch made operation including the bakery. We are narrowing down on that 10% gap as well.

In essence, we have moved away from the traditional model of FOH and BOH combined to a primarily BOH driven operation. This does come with some challenges though. There is always a matter of administration and chefs usually do not take too kindly to this kind of work. It makes it necessary for a strong administration and analytical team to support them. It is worth it!

With health and nutrition at the forefront of our challenges, I believe in this model and encourage other universities to strive for this operation as well. The satisfaction that chef’s get to continue their culinary education and the benefits that the students receive from it pays off ten-fold.


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