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Culinary Institute of Michigan Instructor and Chef Alexander Schulte has joined the long list of ACF Certified CIM faculty and staff by achieving his certification as an American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef (CEC)®.

CEC® Certification shows that a chef has reached a benchmark of skills and culinary experience with demonstrated working knowledge of food preparation, culinary nutrition, food safety, and supervisory management.

Schulte’s culinary journey has given him plenty of experience in these areas and has taken him all over the country. It’s no surprise that the Grand Rapids native started young.

“I started washing dishes when I was 14, and I started cooking that same summer, and I fell in love with the industry almost instantly,” said Schulte.

He attended Kent Career Technical Center in high school for culinary arts and went on to study at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, completing an externship at the French Laundry in Yountville, California. His travels have taken him to restaurants in Manhattan, Washington D.C., and to a Seattle restaurant where he started as a sous chef and became the head baker.

“I was making some brioche buns for burgers for a staff meal one day, and the baker said, ‘Hey, do you want to start covering my breads on Mondays for me?’ And I said sure I would love to try. So, I started doing the breads for the restaurant, and then six months later he quit and I took over,” said Schulte.

Schulte’s adventures continued to take him all over the country, from the Finger Lakes where he opened a restaurant with a friend called The Krebs 1899, to Alaska where he spent time as a commercial salmon fisherman. Eventually, he found his way back to Michigan where CIM program Director Jamie LeRoux reached out to him.

“Every vacation opportunity I had, which would usually be a week, I would just come home. I have a very big family, lots of nieces and nephews, and I couldn’t see myself having a family and raising a kid without my family being around,” said Schulte. “And now I’m an instructor and I love it.”

Achieving CEC® Certification is a rigorous process that includes Continuing Education Hours, five years of experience as a Chef de Cuisine, Executive Sous Chef, or Chef in charge of food production in a foodservice operation, experience supervising at least five full-time people in the preparation of food, and the completion of thorough written and practical exams.

It is an accomplishment to be proud of, and Schulte is looking forward to sharing his knowledge and experience with the students of the CIM.

“I have a lot of friends and connections in the industry and I love sending good students to people that I work with,” said Schulte. “You know, utilizing my network and having the confidence of my training and experience and lending that to the students and pushing them forward to do great things. I love sharing that and so somehow I kind of always felt that I would end up teaching.”

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