WSU chef earns industry’s highest certification

By Steve Nakata, Student Affairs

jason-butcheritePULLMAN, Wash. – Following two years of planning, learning and polishing his cooking skills, Washington State University chef Jason Butcherite has received executive chef certification from the American Culinary Federation.

Certification identifies chefs who have demonstrated culinary competence and expertise through education, work experience, knowledge and skills that are consistent with chefs performing at the highest levels in the industry.

Chef Jason Butcherite at WSU’s Hillside Cafe.

“It helps demonstrate the quality of food WSU students are receiving in the dining centers,” said Butcherite, executive chef for WSU’s Hillside Dining Center. “We strive to prepare restaurant-quality food, take time to pay attention to details and aspire to keep learning and improving.”

Certification was a rigorous process that required him to pass a written exam as well as a comprehensive cooking evaluation, which included making a traditional three-course meal.

“I had to showcase cooking fundamentals that included making three different kinds of sauces, utilizing four classical knife cuts and demonstrating four different cooking techniques – all while being timed,” he said. “They observed how organized I was and if I maintained a sanitary and safe environment. It was pretty intense.”

Butcherite’s passion for cooking began at age 16 when he got a job as a dishwasher in a restaurant. The following year he became a line cook and eventually worked his way up in several well-known restaurants in western Washington. His experience includes cooking at South Fork Public House in Pullman while he earned a bachelor’s degree in WSU’s School of Hospitality Business Management in 2012.

He received valuable coaching and encouragement from Adam Koerner, assistant director of culinary operations for WSU Dining Services, who earned his executive chef certification in June. They join Howard Campbell, WSU Southside Dining Center, and Jamie Callison, WSU School of Hospitality Business Management, in achieving this honor.