Hello everyone! I must apologize for not writing a newsletter for the last few months. I’m not the type of person to make excuses, but I have been teaching the day-class schedule lately which leaves me far less time to spend on my “Executive-Chefy-type-duties”.
It’s been an exciting time on campus lately: student enrollment is up which means that our campus is bustling with activity, we’ve seen a few instructors move-on to other things, and we’ve had a really positive wave of new instructors join our team which has required a lot of training!
All of that stuff aside, there is one main topic that I would like to spend the entirety of this newsletter discussing, and that is that our beloved Chef Santos Villarico has retired from ACI. If you’ve been on campus lately, this may be old news to you, but if you haven’t been by in a while you may be hearing this for the first time. Chef Santos brought a very unique personality to the ACI campus. He was stern. He was old school. He definitely believed in “tough love”. Not every student that passed through his kitchen liked his approach. But, despite his rough exterior, I have not met many people on earth that love food, love cooking, and love teaching as much as that man. He pushed people both physically and mentally with the sole goal of getting students ready for the industry. He helped you get faster. He imparted a depth of knowledge of the culinary arts. He helped thicken your skin. And even if you didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, he was preparing you for kitchen life. On the inside, he is a loving and caring instructor. I feel lucky that as a co-worker I got to know him on a much more personal level. ACI was very lucky to have had him on our campus for the nearly 10 years he was with us.
Moving forward, Chef Santos will continue to be involved with ACI. He will help with events, wine dinners, graduations, and he will continue to pop-in from time to time to teach extracurricular classes at some of our Open Houses. He is, and always will be, welcome on our campus. In closing, there is one fact that cannot be denied: over the course of his long teaching career, both with us and with other schools, there are hundreds of cooks, perhaps thousands, across Arizona and across the country, that have been permanently influenced by his teachings, and I feel that the culinary industry will forever benefit from that. “Thank you Chef Santos”, for your time, your wisdom, and your love of cooking…..and HAPPY RETIREMENT!!!!!
Until next time everyone, best wishes to you all.
Chef Christopher Wolf, ccc, cce, cpi, csw