What is the College of Campus Cooks™?

by | Jan 17, 2020

We here at Campus Cooks have always prided ourselves in our selection and training process for our private chefs. Whether we are hiring a corporate office employee or dishwasher, all prospective employees go through a very similar multi-step hiring process. After the hiring process, we send our chefs to the College of Campus Cooks, a program we have beamed about since its creation. We wanted to give everyone a little sneak peek into our hiring and training process, as it is the reason we are the company we are today!

When a new house decides to partner with Campus Cooks, we ensure we have an in-depth conversation about what that chapter is looking for in their food service and their chef prior to position recruiting. Our Human Resources team posts job positions through a variety of methods, often in collaboration with local culinary schools. HR then reviews submitted resumes and selects candidates to do a phone interview. If the phone interview is successful, the HR team then sends information regarding the candidate to the regional supervisor who will oversee that new account. The regional supervisor then schedules an in-person interview with the chef, being the final assessment of the candidate. Throughout the interview process, our team ensures to ask questions regarding our A.L.P.H.A. to see what values the chef holds and if their values align with ours (Don’t know what our A.L.P.H.A. is? Click here to learn!). It is our biggest priority to find the right candidate for the right position no matter what.

Once hired, we provide travel for our chefs to venture to our home office in Wheeling, IL where we host a 2 ½ day training program we’ve titled “The College of Campus Cooks™”. Not only do chefs attend the College of Campus Cooks, but all managing and corporate positions do as well. Everyone is taught by our training manager, Adam Disney. Disney has been in the food industry professionally for over 10 years and with Campus Cooks for 6 years, starting as a chef at University of Illinois. He attended college initially for Communications and Public Relations, but then went back shortly after to culinary school to get his degree in Culinary Arts. His two degrees have come together through this unique role, as Disney focuses his training and development on implementing new best practices and being a guide to all new employees within the company.

The College of Campus Cooks doesn’t teach anybody how to be a chef. That part they already know. What new employees don’t know is how to be a chef at Campus Cooks. That’s where our program comes in, and has proved to be useful information for chef and management positions alike. Disney trains on a large variety of topics, including our Company History, Greek Life, Menu Writing, Communication & Reporting, Budgeting, Professionalism and much more. He issues a Private Chef Training Workbook to all employees for them to write notes, do activities and take quizzes. Don’t worry though, its not all boring. Disney’s individual training style promotes collaboration as he encourages the chefs to discuss and learn from one another. Since our company reach is so wide, Disney strives for every chef to feel that they have a solid support system whenever they may need it, wherever they are. Not to mention we order Chicago Style Hot Dogs or Chicago Deep Dish Pizza every Thursday for the whole office so the new employees can get to know our staff and have a little taste of Chicago!

After Disney has completed his training, he then gives each chef information about their specific chapter and their individual needs in order to prep them for their very first day. The new employees then take one final last test in order to become “graduates”, answering questions on a variety of topics learned. If they pass, they receive a Campus Cooks hat, diploma, some Campus Cooks swag and the tools they need to thrive in their account! The support doesn’t end there, as the chef is nurtured into their account by a Regional Supervisor, Regional Chef or one of our Chefs on Demand. They ensure that the chef is properly introduced to their house and is acquainted with the day-to-day operations before becoming head of the kitchen.

The College of Campus Cooks has been around for the past 10 years, and we couldn’t be prouder of it. It is one of the bonding forces within our company that has brought mutual understanding to all our employees as to what we do and why we do it. From Washington to Florida, our values and practices are shown every single day through the incredible work of our employees.