Some say a change in direction is difficult but for Chef Scott DeFrancisco, executive chef for College Chefs, taking a job cooking for a fine group of young ladies was a change for the best. Chef Scott enjoys his job and keeping the ladies of Kappa Kappa Gamma at Drake University well-fed with the freshest foods.
A Defining Moment
Cooking was a bit different for Scott at first. It was more of a chore for him, admitting that his mom suggested he start to cook family dinners. But at the age of 14 he made his way in to the restaurant industry as a busboy. From there he began to see cooking as a job instead of a chore. He went on to be a prep cook and worked his way on to being a line cook. In 2006 Scott moved to Phoenix, Arizona where he took a job at a country club. “I got to experience the other side of cooking opposed to a turn and burn style like you have in a restaurant,” he says. He also mentioned that at the country club he got to learn an abundance of things such as learning to cook meals from scratch. It was a turning point for Scott and his career. “It’s when my career really took off,” he says. With his career taking off, he also credits a lot of his knowledge to Chef Gregory. “He took the time to show me original techniques,” he says, “I really started my career with him.” Scott goes on to explain that he saw how much passion Chef Gregory had for his career with cooking and wanted that same passion. 2006 was a good year for Scott. He also got a job working for Troon Golf, a country club, where he transferred with the company from Phoenix, Arizona to North Carolina. On the move again, Chef Scott went on to work at the Marriott in West Des Moines, Iowa. He also went on to be an Executive Sous Chef which lasted a little more than a year. He then found a great opportunity within an ad one day.
A Lucky Find
“I was looking for a job and I found an intriguing ad,” he says. The job was cooking for sororities & fraternities as a personal chef. He applied for the job and eventually got an interview with Regional Director, Chef Jared Bost. If it was not already apparent, Chef Scott got the job. “It changed my life in a number of ways from professional to family,” he says of getting the job with College Chefs. “You get the opportunity to run your own business without the hassle,” he says. Scott thanks Chef Jared for allowing him an opportunity to work for such a successful company. He also stressed the importance of creativity. “A lot of creative freedom is taken from chefs now and with College Chefs you get to do the things you love and make kids happy,” he says. As a personal chef, in which Scott prefers to call himself, he could not be happier to work for such a great company. He believes that College Chefs has quality chefs that work for them which contributes to their success. “A lot of places lose sight of the fact that the people in your kitchen represent your company and College Chefs does not lose sight of that,” he says. “Someone is constantly reaching out, even if it is just to see how your day is going,” he adds. This year Scott is doing some experimenting when it comes to his menus. So far his biggest hit is his fresh baked breads which he makes on a daily basis. Chef Scott believes that his passion for cooking and food drives his success. Bost commented on working with Chef Scott, "It's amazing to see the confidence really come out in Scott [DeFrancisco]. He is extremely talented and his food is as good as it looks!...he has been an absolute pleasure to work with."
Success Driven by Passion
All of Chef Scott’s success comes with one great aspect and piece of advice--an open mind. “Don’t go by the book,” he says to future chefs. You have to be able to adapt, he suggests. “You have to be willing to do new things and try new techniques to move forward in your career,” he says. A great job and success aside, Scott loves playing golf and spending time with his kids. He is enjoying his ample amount of home time including teaching his boys a few culinary traits. “I am just enjoying the little things you miss when you are gone 70 hours a week,” he says. Scott concludes with one last piece of advice. “Have passion,” he says, “a chef without passion is just a cook.”
By Ashley Skoczylas