Chef Terrence Crandall, A.A.S. Culinary Arts ’88, is currently the Executive Chef at the Peninsula Hotel Shanghai in China. The alumni association caught up with Chef Crandall, check out his interview:
What made you choose Kendall College?
Not wanting to show my age, but the school was relatively new when I decided to join. The brand new equipment, coupled with very engaging chef instructors and being in my home town of Chicago made attending Kendall an easy decision.
How did Kendall College prepare you for your current position?
I never cooked professionally prior to attending Kendall College and I found that it provided me with very valuable basic skills, classic technique, kitchen organization, and of course hygiene and food safety which would have taken much longer to learn on the job. Of course, all of these skills must be practiced and refined on the job but having the time to focus on one subject at a time is a luxury that you do not have once you are on the job.
What advice would you give to an incoming student?
Learn absolutely everything you can in each position before you move to the next challenge. For example, if you have the opportunity to be a butcher, learn everything about butchery before you move on to garde manger. This experience will deepen your understanding of cooking and help you later in your career. From purchasing to dish washing, everything in cooking is related and you may not have the opportunity to go back and relearn what you missed.
What is your favorite thing about working in your industry?
The action of the kitchen! Every day it is different in some way. Also, the camaraderie of the kitchen is like nothing else. We spend more time together in the kitchen than at home with our own families. Even though, like families, there are disagreements and squabbles, in the end it is all about one thing, cooking great food and making the guests smile.
What advice would you give to a student that is preparing to graduate and enter your field?
Don’t try to move too fast into being a sous chef, chef de cuisine, or restaurant owner. You may think you know a lot but really you have just touched the surface. Also don’t be afraid to fail, accept it, learn from it, and start again. Just don’t ever put a failure on the plate.
Where do you hope to be in 10-15 years
Healthy and still cooking.
What was your most memorable experience at Kendall College?
On my first day as a server at my first table in The Dining Room, I shot myself in the forehead with a Champagne cork. The entire dining room erupted in laughter and I decided I was much better at cooking than serving.
Learn more about other notable Kendall College alumni.