business side is a big
part of being a chef."
"Chef/owners need more
than just culinary skills
and courses. They need to
be able to jump in and do
any job in the restaurant."
"Chefs and cooks
don’t pay enough
education the education edge
a degree. He hasn’t regretted it. His education
A will to learn
prepared him to be chef/owner of Puritan &
Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In
addition to its status as a modern American
restaurant, Puritan offers catering and is
moving into the private-chef business.
Gilson believes social psychology,
accounting and marketing are among the most
helpful courses he took. “It’s essential for a chef to have good social skills,” he says.
“Math also is important. I wish I had taken more math courses.”
Math and finance classes have been important to Bryce Norblom, partner/butcher
and sometimes chef at Butcher’s Bistro in Denver. He also plays an active role in front-
of-the-house operations. A graduate of Colorado State University in Fort Collins with a
bachelor’s in hospitality management and a minor in business, Norblom went to school
planning to make a career in the hotel industry. A stint in a seafood restaurant changed his
mind, and when he joined the team at Snooze, a Denver-based restaurant company, he was
convinced. Starting out as a dishwasher and then a
sous chef, he worked his way into management as a
corporate chef trainer. His education, he believes,
helped him grow at Snooze and continues to help
him succeed at Butcher’s Bistro. “Knowing the
business side is a big part of being a chef,” he says.
Evelyn Lannak, an assistant professor in the
hospitality department at Monroe Community
College, began her postsecondary education with a
bachelor’s in home economics. “I graduated about the
time home economics was no longer being taught,”
she says. So she started a catering business, and soon
learned she needed more education. She earned a
certificate in culinary arts and catering management
at the Culinary Institute of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. “That program taught
me how to work smarter, not harder,” she says. Later, she earned a master’s in education.
Among the courses she teaches are fundamental and advanced food preparation
and advanced foodservice management. Her students include those out of high school,
career changers, veterans and others. She believes that the courses that Monroe
and other schools offer are important, because “chefs and cooks don’t pay enough
attention to nonculinary skills.”
Many culinarians with degrees turn
to education as a career. Chuck Ziccardi
is an assistant teaching professor in the
culinary arts/foodservice department
at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
He has extensive experience as a chef