With a sprinkle of determination, a dash of enthusiasm and a heaping helping of a Triton College education, Chef Joseph Kraft is a seasoned professional in his field who has catered to the taste buds of countless individuals in Chicago and beyond. Kraft, a 1988 Triton graduate, juggled full-time work as a sous chef while attending Triton, where his culinary talents flourished in the classroom. Upon graduating with an associate’s degree in Restaurant Management, Kraft served as an executive chef for a Chicago country club and various major hotel chains, as well as worked for a food service management company in the O’Hare Airport area.
His career eventually took him beyond Chicago’s limits to his current position as corporate executive chef for Morrison Healthcare Food Service in Arizona, a member of Compass Group, which is an international leader in food and support services. In his position, Kraft oversees food and nutrition services for more than 60 culinary operations in his area.
An award-winning chef, Kraft has won national culinary competitions and is a certified executive chef, certified culinary administrator and a member of the American Academy of Chefs through the American Culinary Federation (ACF). He also serves as the vice chair of the Chef and Child Foundation of the ACF, which educates and promotes nutritional awareness to children and their families.
What have been some obstacles you've had to overcome in pursuit of your educational and career goals?None that have stopped me to do what I want to do.
What have been some sources of inspiration both in your career and in your life?Food is my inspiration each and every day. People who have inspired me include Joe Aiello, who is a Certified Executive Chef (CEC) and part of the American Academy of Chefs (AAC). He was one of my adjunct instructors at the college. I worked for him for several years and he taught me so much to enhance my career. My family has always supported me, and they have inspired me, not only professionally, but personally each and every day.
What would you describe as your strong suit?I know that I am a good cook and I’m always open to learning more about food each and every day. You also have to be good with people. You have to learn to listen and understand. To be a great leader, you must inspire, train, follow up, discipline and celebrate success.
How has Triton College impacted your life?Triton gave me a solid foundation of education that I needed to pursue my career. It has inspired me the most, and it is where I met my wife more than 20 years ago!
What advice would you give to someone who would like to pursue a career in your field?It’s important to be well-rounded and grounded in everything that effects the type of food business that you want to be in. You should never stop learning and be a leader and your brigade will follow and perform. Also, you should never underestimate what you do, be true to food and run a clean and sanitized kitchen.
What are your words of wisdom for current Triton students?Work hard in school and take it seriously.
What are your plans for the future?I love living out West. I will continue to work and do what I truly love.
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