JJC chef re-elected to national position
BY JEANNE MILLSAP Correspondent June 28, 2013 3:00PM
Kyle Richardson | Supplied photo
Updated: August 2, 2013 6:37AM
Joliet Junior College culinary arts professor Kyle Richardson has been elected to a second two-year term on the American Culinary Federation’s board of directors — a weighty honor with the federation’s more than 24,000 members.
Richardson will serve as the ACF’s Central Region vice president over 15 states.
“It was a big honor, and it’s a big job,” he said. “There are about 7,000 chefs in my region alone. But I feel it’s giving back. Someone had to give education and networking to me when I began. ... I feel like I made a difference my first term.”
The ACF is the premier professional organization for culinarians in North America, offering training, apprenticeship programs and chef certifications. Richardson also serves on the ACF’s national committee for apprenticeships and in positions with the federation’s local chapter.
Richardson said the organization works to give certification for several levels of chefs, from student culinarians to executive chefs and all the way up to master chef — the highest certification.
Certification matters in the field, too, he said. A recent study showed that certified chefs earn 10 percent to 15 percent more than those who are uncertified.
Education is another arm of the ACF, which also holds annual regional and national competitions.
Joliet Junior College students have performed exceptionally well in the competitions, winning the national title in 2011 and coming in second place in 2010.
“Joliet Junior College is one of the top, if not the top, program in the country for training our chefs,” he said. “We’ve been at the top of the level since we’ve been around.”
Richardson teaches advanced culinary, culinary nutrition and culinary leadership at Joliet Junior College and manages the school-run restaurant.
Programs Richardson has assisted via the ACF include the Share our Strength Pprogram, the Chefs Move to Schools program initiated by Michelle Obama, and an apprenticeship program with the U.S. Army at Fort Lee, Va., that awards deserving soldier chefs certifications to help them with their career paths.
He also recently helped organize a chefs’ trips to Moore, Okla., to provide meals and relief to tornado disaster workers and displaced chefs.
Richardson’s new term begins at the board’s installation during the President’s Grand Ball at the 2013 ACF National Convention in Las Vegas on July 25.