Virginia Tech Dining Services extends a sincere congratulations to Chef Randall Van Dyke, who recently completed the requirements for the certified executive chef (CEC) designation.

With the certification, Van Dyke, executive chef at Dietrick Hall, will be recognized as an executive chef on a national level. Van Dyke’s accomplishment illustrates the Dining Services’ commitment to employees’ professional development and career advancements. 

One component of the certification process is a practical cooking exam that calls for the chef to produce 12 gourmet plated dishes, including an appetizer, salad, and entrée with a focus on classical cooking techniques, from scratch in three hours. The second component is a written exam that tested Van Dyke’s food science knowledge, classical cooking techniques, stocks and sauces, cooking methodology, and food safety.  

“I have put in a lot of years of work, and this certification is the culmination of that,” said Van Dyke. “It also allows me be able to train my staff, and maybe one day they too can earn the CEC.” 

Only about 2,700 chefs in the nation receive the certified executive chef designation. Virginia Tech is an official testing site for the certification for the American Culinary Federation, and the university is the first institution to offer both the practical and written exam at the same site, affirming the university's status as a center of culinary excellence in higher education.

“We like to see our chefs grow, so for me, it is quite rewarding to see them take those next steps,” said Brian Grove, senior associate director of Dining Services. “We will continue to support our chefs because the department grows with them.”  

“Being recognized by my peers has also been a huge point of pride for me,” Van Dyke said. “I can now say I’ve reached a certain level, and I would like to pass that on to my staff through training.”

Dining Services’ commitment to employee growth and advancement is a cornerstone of its mission to foster a supportive and dynamic working environment and empower employees to reach their full potentials. 

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