Chef Rutherford is humble, down to earth and very personable. He has been a Chef Instructor for the past few years teaching his craft to young culinary students at Sheridan Technical Center (STC) in Hollywood, Florida. His focus has changed dramatically from being an Executive Chef to training the future chefs of tomorrow, something he is passionate about and shares his experience and wisdom with them. It has always been a dream of his after realizing how important the culinary school experience played a role in his own career path.
About Sheridan Technical Center
In 1968, STC opened its doors in Hollywood, Florida. Sheridan is the oldest of Broward County’s three technical centers. As a Broward County Public School, STC offers postsecondary workforce development programs affording students the opportunity to gain skills in high wage, high demand occupational fields and compete successfully in the local employment marketplace. STC provides students full or part time training using the latest industry-approved technology and equipment. Their instructors are licensed and certified teaching professionals. To meet the needs of students preparing for occupations, 45 workforce development programs are offered, including 3 applied technology diploma programs and 42 vocational certificate programs.
What education or experience would you recommend for aspiring chefs?
Chef Rutherford highly recommends going to a Technical School like Sheridan Technical Center once students are contemplating on choosing a culinary career as a chef. Starting with an apprentice program using the format he teaches at STC, the students can understand the basics through a short program and learn and get hands on experience and learn a lot of different techniques and styles of the culinary profession and practice what they learn. It is inexpensive, they build a good foundation with the basics and they also eat what is cooked getting exposure to casual and formal culinary styles. As part of the curriculum, he teaches his students in 3 courses: food handling and servsafe practices, culinary nutrition and management. They spend 30 hours a term for each class.
“Experience is the best teacher and it is the little things that they will pick up from being hands-on and experimental that theory cannot teach them.” Once they decide to pursue being a chef, then he recommends going to work for a restaurant. He would not recommend working for a restaurant only as they will only learn one or two specific specialties depending on what the restaurant’s niche is. In addition to learning the technical skills, he guides them to learn to be a great manager because in moving up the career path, they will be dealing with many personalities in high pressure environments.