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Culinary School Stories

62 EpisodesProduced by Dr. Colin Roche, PhD, MBA, CEC, CCE, FMP, CHEWebsite

Culinary School Stories is a podcast with engaging interviews that shares the stories of people from around the world that have an association with a culinary school in some way. Every week we bring you the best stories from people around the food service world whose lives have been influenced, impa… read more


Story #014 - Joseph Keefer

GUEST’S NAME: Joseph Keefer

CULINARY SCHOOL AFFILIATION: Johnson & Wales University, North Miami, FL

BIO: Chef Joseph Keefer was born in the small town of Spring Hill Florida, which is where he discovered his love for cooking in a home economics class. He went to Nature Coast Technical High School and studied Culinary Arts under Chef Peter Diulio. The next decision was an obvious and that was to further his culinary education at the post-secondary level.

Chef Keefer enrolled in the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University’s Miami campus where he spent four years trying new foods, competing in cooking challenges that gave him a creative outlet to hone skills and technique, interning in Germany where he was introduced to foraging and preservation, and minoring in Baking and Pastry and Beverage Arts.

After his culinary school education at JWU, Chef Keefer packed up his belongings with his friends and moved to Seattle, Washington. He found work at a restaurant run by Chef William Belickis called Mistral Kitchen that was fresh, innovative and relatable, which offered tasting menus, a la carte, crudos, purees! It was not long before a new job opportunity opened up at Canlis, considered by many to be the best restaurant in Seattle. The job was for a chocolatier, which allowed Chef Keefer to refine his love of working with chocolate. While at Canlis, he worked his way around the kitchen learning about private dining, tasting menus, and Japanese and American fine dining, laying the foundation and groundwork for the type of cook Chef Keefer would become.

After Seattle, Joseph travelled to New York City to work for Chef Damon Wise, who was at one time Tom Colicchio’s corporate executive chef. The restaurant was a French Bistro, which is where he learned about the classical bistro dishes that highlighted a balance between French and American cooking. However, Chef Keefer left the property when the opportunity to be on the opening staff of L’atelier de Joel Robuchon arose. The restaurant was awarded 2 Michelin Stars the next year. Under Robuchon, Mr. Keefer learned about French techniques and the quality of one’s ingredients. While in New York City, Chef Keefer made it a point to eat his way around Brooklyn, Chinatown, Korea Town, Little Italy and Long Island.

After a quick year back in Florida to apprentice as meat cutter, Chef Keefer moved to Christiansburg, Virginia, which is where Virginia Tech is located, and currently works at a local restaurant that focuses on Appalachian Cuisine and Culture. When he is not working, Joseph can be found baking sourdough, fermenting vegetables, or tending to his garden. Future plans include hosting pop-up dinners using the local food products of the area, finishing the book he always wanted to write, and to begin a social media channel for food lovers.

ABOUT THE SHOW: Culinary School Stories is a weekly podcast with engaging interviews that shares the stories of people from around the world that have an association with a culinary school in some way. Each episode we bring you the best stories from people around the food service world whose lives have been influenced, impacted, touched and/or enriched, for good or for bad, from their culinary school experience. And this Podcast is dedicated to telling their story!

From current students and alumni, to faculty and administrators, this interview style podcast allows for longer, more in-depth, open discussions about issues, stories and tales surrounding culinary school. We hope you will listen in and learn what each of our guests has to say as we talk to them about their relationship to culinary school, as well as their journey, the people who helped them, and their goals and dreams for the future. Join us as we ask and discover, “What’s your culinary school story?”

RATINGS / REVIEW: If you enjoy the podcast, please consider leaving a short review and ratings on Apple Podcasts / iTunes if you have an iPhone or iPad. It takes less than 30 seconds, and it really makes a difference in spreading the word, getting new listeners and guests, as well as sponsors!

To do so, in the Apple Podcasts app, search for the show, tap or click it, then scroll down to the “Ratings & Reviews”; tap the amount of stars you want to give; tap on “Write a Review”; create a headline; write your review; click “Send”.


Interested in sponsoring the podcast?

·        Companies & Businesses, please contact us at:

·        Individuals can donate through Patreon! Please support the show at:

If you contribute just the price of a cup of coffee a week, you will be helping to support the hosting, purchasing, creation and production of our episodes and shows that we produce and give away for free.


Audience Response Hotline: (207) 835-1275 {Comments, Suggestions or Questions)

CSS Podcast Website:

Chef Educator Podcast Website:

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NOTE: If you want to share your culinary school story in a future episode, all you have to do is go to and download the guest questionnaire at the bottom of that page. Once you fill it out, email it back to us. After we review it, we will be back in touch to set up a date and time to talk!

MUSIC: "Family Montage" by Biz Baz Studio, YouTube Audio Library

Culinary School Stories is a proud member of the Food Media Network! Copyright 2020

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