Some say, ‘‘it takes all you’ve got’’ and for former Executive Chef at College Chefs, Chef Tim Crandall, he gave it his all. Once a music major, Chef Tim decided to trade the sense of sound for a more tasteful career.
An Unknown Passion
Most chefs can say they have a perfect memory of their first experience in the kitchen. For Tim, it came a little later in life. “I started cooking when I became vegan in college,” he says. In fact, Chef Tim was not even going to school to become a chef at that point. He went to college to study music when he fell into the industry. During his time in college he worked several different restaurants, until he found a job at a fine dining restaurant in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Chef Tim managed to get the full experience there. Learning from a chef at the restaurant, he gained experience as a line cook and sautéing. “The chef was a great teacher and very motivating,” he says. Once the chef moved, Chef Tim found himself on the move once again to continue learning.
Changing it Up
He found himself a little more south of Cleveland, in Miami, Florida. In Miami he worked as an executive chef at a bed and breakfast. As an executive chef there he helped cook and redevelop menus. Tim finally decided he wanted something different and began his search for the right job. It did not take long and he found himself applying for a job with College Chefs. After going through the company's interview process, where he was interviewed by fellow chefs, he was placed as an executive chef for the fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi at the University of Miami. He was able to cook with great people who were very receptive. “I got to step away from the drama in the industry,” he says, “it was like a breath of fresh air working for College Chefs.” Tim was able to have the freedom of his own kitchen but not have the burden of worrying about things such as chefs not showing up. While working for College Chefs, he was also able to see his family, which he had not seen on a holiday in ten years. He explains that as a cook you go into the industry knowing that you will have to make sacrifices. “College Chefs opened my eyes for there to be a perfect balance between being a chef and having a life outside of that,” he says. After visiting with his family one holiday, he realized where he needed to be. A tough decision for anyone, Tim decided to leave his job and move back north to his stomping grounds. College Chefs' GM of Business Operations, Dave Tarrant, commented on Chef Tim's move and stepping away from the company, "Of course we did everything we could to try and keep Chef Tim on our team in some capacity -- he's a fantastic talent and a great guy. In the end Tim had to look out for his best interests and we totally support that. We were sad to see him go but thrilled that he's found the success he deserves [after his time with College Chefs] in Ohio."
Once back in Cleveland, Tim started looking for new jobs in the industry. While talking with Tim, it was clear that he was grateful for his opportunity with College Chefs but it was a move that was needed. “It was the first time in 15 years that I moved for personal reasons and not for a career,” he says of the hard choice. It was not long after that Tim found a job as an executive chef at a restaurant named the Corner Alley where he works now. Still holding true to a balanced life, which he learned was possible with College Chefs, his new job still offers great hours. He is helping the restaurant transform and make a name for himself. Chef Tim is looking to bring a little of what he learned at College Chefs to the kitchen at Corner Alley. Now working at a large volume, fast-paced restaurant, he finds himself cooking like he did with College Chefs. “A lot of stuff I did at College Chefs is similar so it helps now,” he mentions, “and I can use the same creative recipes.”
Back Where it Started
Besides cooking Tim has another passion, his first love--music. “Music is still one of the biggest things in my life,” he says. He still plays guitar and tries to go see shows at least two times a month. It can’t go without mention of his love for the Cleveland Indians. “I moved to the area because I loved the team so much,” he laughs. However, it all comes back to the reason for which Tim moved back to the midwest--family and friends. He goes on to talk about his close relationship he has with friends from college. For Tim, it truly matters the people you surround yourself with. “I am happy doing anything as long as I am surrounded by the ones I care about,” he says.
By Ashley Skoczylas