An Interview with Roger Newell, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC
Chef Newell has been involved in commercial and non-commercial foodservice for over 40 years. After opening the Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino as Executive Sous Chef, he relocated to Florida and joined the the culinary team of the World Showcase at EPCOT Center. He spent over 20 years working in healthcare and retired as the Director of Food & Nutrition Services for Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee, FL. Chef Newell is very active within the ACF Central Florida Chapter, having served as Membership Chairman, Treasurer, 1st Vice President, Chapter President, and Chairman of the Board. He is a strong advocate of the benefits of ACF membership, of community involvement, and in taking advantage of every educational opportunity – no matter how small it may seem.
What is your present employment and tell us a little bit about it?
What special awards have you earned within the ACF?
Chapter Chef of the Year 2003
National Presidential Medallion
Did you attend a culinary school?
Yes, I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America (1968).
Who were your “mentor” chefs and how did they impact your career?
Joe Amendola and Noble Masi. Both instilled an honest work ethic.
What type of cuisine do you like to cook the most?
I really like working with all types of food.
What or who inspires your culinary creativity?
I read a lot of food magazines to look for new ideas.
Do you have a favorite cookbook and what is it?
No, too many to choose from.
Do you remember the first dish you ever made – and who did you make it for?
Salisbury steak, and I made it for my parents during my first weekend home from culinary school.
What ingredient(s) could you not live without?
What is your favorite dish to cook for kids?
My grandkids love anything on the grill: vegetables, fish, anything.
Who was the most important person you ever cooked for?
Or who made you the most nervous?
My family, because they are the harshest critics.
What was your worst disaster in the kitchen and how did you turn it around?
My first meal that I cooked for my family. My timing was awful. I thought I was so smart after two weeks in the Culinary Institute of America. Everyone ate the meal, but I think they ordered pizza later.
What was your best day ever in your culinary career?
Receiving my induction into the American Academy of Chefs, the honor society of the ACF.
What do you think is “the next big trend” in food?
Hard to keep track as they seem to change from day to day.
What advice do you have for new culinarians and chefs entering the field?
Be honest! Show up when you commit yourself. Don’t promise something you can’t deliver. Keep your eyes open and learn, because today’s chefs are so willing to share their knowledge.