My name is Chef Rob Ferris and I am the Director of Culinary Arts for the Culinary Institute of Platt College. I have over 25 years experience in the industry and have enjoyed learning and creating an array of delicious dishes. Presently, I am the Vice President of Culinary Arts of Oklahoma (the local Oklahoma chefs’ organization). Our goal at the Culinary Institute is to build great chefs of the future. We offer an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelors Degree in Restaurant Management. Platt College is also accredited by the American Culinary Federation which allows us to give all of our graduates a CC certification from the ACF. For those of you who enjoy cooking for fun, we also offer classes on Saturdays to the general public such as Classical French, Cajun, Southwest and Italian cuisines.
The best and most important advice to remember as a chef is never serve anything that you will not walk out to the table and tell the guest that you made yourself. The one thing that drives me crazy about cooks and chefs is when I go somewhere and get brown vegetables such asparagus and broccoli. Or, I order mushrooms that are brought out black, because they were not sautéed with the addition of wine. However, the most rewarding part of being a chef is when I visit a restaurant that uses my recipe. This is one of the best compliments you can pay to a chef.
The culinary industry is one that if an individual is dedicated and reliable he or she can go as far as they would like. To tell you a little bit about myself, I started as a dishwasher at the Sand Plum Restaurant in Guthrie, Oklahoma when I was fourteen years old. At the time, chefs and cooks really did not share their knowledge in fear of someone taking their position. Good jobs in the food industry were not readily available as they are now. For example, our salad cook did not show up one night, and I immediately stepped in and prepared all the salads along with my regular dishwashing job. The chef was so impressed with my dedication that he moved me immediately to salad chef.
From then, I learned how to work the grill and ovens and became the grill cook. At this time, I joined the American Culinary Federation as an ACF apprentice. I worked 6000 hours under Chef Mark Cochran for the next three years while finishing high school and graduating with the first apprenticeship class in Oklahoma. When I graduated Chef Cochran made me the Executive Chef. I worked three more years as The Chef of the Sand Plum. My adventurous streak came over me and I decided to try my luck in Las Vegas. In Las Vegas I worked as the Banquet Chef at the Ornsby Hotel and Casino. After Vegas I worked at the Sheraton Hotel in Edmond, OK; Kansas City at the Radisson Hotels downtown and in Overland Park; Wichita, Kansas at the Marriott Hotel. From there I went to work with a company Grand Heritage Hotels as Executive Chef and Task Force Chef. Grand Heritage Hotels sent me to Europe for ninety days to learn the Grand Heritage way. I spent two weeks in different hotels in England, Spain, France and Germany. If a chef quit at the Poncho train in New Orleans then I went there and was the chef until they could hire another chef to take that position. I did this at hotels all across the country including the Stanly Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, US Grant Hotel in San Diego, Georgia Terress in Atlanta and many more. After a few years, I went to work for a small company named Starwood Hotels. At the time they only had twenty-five hotels, mostly Holiday Inn and Harvey Hotels. Within Ninety days this company purchased Westin and Sheraton Hotels. They quickly went from having twenty-five hotels to 850 hotels in 52 countries. After traveling for three years I decided to step down and go to work for Omni Hotels in Kansas City. From there I moved back to Oklahoma with my wife whom I met while visiting my hometown of Guthrie. I worked for Hilton Hotels and the Westin downtown OKC before becoming the Director at The Culinary Institute at Platt College. When I look back on my career and what I have been able to achieve.
I owe a large part of that to the American Culinary Federation, because it allowed me to become a chef and gave me an outlet to enhance my career through training and certification. Those of you students considering Culinary Schools throughout the country, I strongly recommend you choose a school that is Accredited by the American Culinary Federation. You will receive Certification as a Certified Culinarian, which is the first step to becoming a Certified Chef. It is similar to having an RN or LPN Certification as a nurse. Outside of Oklahoma it is very difficult to get a chef job if you are not ACF certified. I invite you all to attend Platt College and learn more about the wonderful culinary experience.
Director of Culinary Arts for the Culinary Institute of Platt College
2727 W Memorial Rd
Oklahoma City, OK 73134-8034