An avid NASCAR fan and quite the cheesecake baker, Ron Fields, Executive Chef for College Chefs, believes in being innovative and staying on top of his game. When it comes to Chef Ron’s work there is no denying his success and dedication in the food industry.
A Step in the Right Direction
“I have always been passionate about cooking,” he says starting off right away. Immediately you can sense his love for food. Right out of high school Ron was made aware of an apprenticeship with the American Culinary Federation. It was a previous chef that he knew recommended the program. Quickly after learning of the apprenticeship, he went for it. “I remember being put at the pot-sink,” he says of his three year apprenticeship. He admits to washing dishes for quite awhile, but he was determined to work. He learned the production of soups, sauces and breaking down meats. He also got experience working with smokers and BBQ’s. After his apprenticeship and graduation, Chef Ron went on to work in a restaurant in Orlando, Florida.
At Chris’ House of Beef, Ron worked at the saute station. “I enjoyed the aspect of making food to order,” he says. Chef Ron followed many different restaurants early in his career but one restaurant where he learned a lot was at Grady’s American Grill. He was able to be a part of their chefs program and went to Dallas, Texas for training. It was in Dallas, that Ron got to work with their chefs and learn all that he could. From designing the food to the cost of food, he learned it all. As Grady’s transformed and modernized, so did Ron. The company was doing away with a lot of their chefs and starting to train for front of the house positions. Ron saw it as an opportunity to broaden his resume. He had so much experience in the kitchen, it was good to know the managerial side of a restaurant as well.
Honing a Talent
Ron spent a total of eight years in fast-casual dining. While working as a kitchen manager for some major corporate restaurants, Ron took six months off to pursue a cheesecake business. He has baked and sold over 1,000 cheesecakes during his years of cooking. Although he had a passion for his cheesecake business, it never took off well enough to be successful. Once again Ron found himself back in the kitchen of a corporate restaurant. He soon discovered that corporate structure was not for him and he took a job as sous chef at Honey Lake Plantation Resort and Spa. As a sous chef he gained experience working with venison, quail and other wild game. He was also able to practice his Southern cuisine.
With all if his passion and experience, Ron took a job with College Chefs in 2013. “I loved the overall package that they offer for the industry,” he says. Passionate about eating good food, Chef Ron gets to work with the freshest ingredients available, he explains. “You are proud of what you are doing when you are creating your menus,” he says. Never giving it much thought, Ron has a little family within his house, Alpha Gamma Delta at Florida State University. “They are very receptive and we have open communication, which makes it easy to keep them satisfied,” he says. However, Ron has one other trick to happy residents--his grilled mac and cheese sandwich with a tomato bisque. “They are lined up before dinner is even served,” he says with a laugh. He also explains that there were some challenges for him at first. Working in a house full of girls and a house mom, there needs to be a lot of interacting. For Ron, who may come off as shy, really pushed himself to be social. “It was a challenge at first but I made myself do it and I’m proud of myself,” he says with confidence. There was one other piece of information that Ron made clear--his satisfaction with College Chefs. “I have never been more satisfied than I am now,” he says of his 30 year journey in the culinary field. He believes in planning your work and working your plan in order to be successful.
When Ron has his summers off from College Chefs, you will still find him in the kitchen. A resident of Tallahassee, Florida, Chef Ron works part-time for Golden Eagle Country Club. At the country club he feeds golfers and helps with their banquets. Ron also mentioned that he can make a mean chili. “My chili was voted best chili of Tallahassee in 2010 and 2012,” he says. With the rest of his spare time, you can find Ron with his daughter and wife taking a lot of beach trips.
By Ashley Skoczylas