I am a tenured Associate Professor of Mathematics; beginning my 18th year at Stetson University in August 2017. In this document, I present a sample of my experience with food-related issues and practice from a professional standpoint. In 2004, after being granted tenure, I embarked on a second professional journey in addition to my full-time position in the Mathematics and Computer Science department. I enrolled full-time in the evening program at Le Cordon Blue College of Culinary Arts in Orlando to pursue a second career. I graduated at the top of my class in culinary school within a year and after some part time cooking jobs during the following summers (when I was away from Stetson University), opened a “farm to table” restaurant with my wife who is a sommelier and podiatric surgeon with her own private practice, featuring local and thoughtful ingredients via globally inspired dishes. I am a hands-on chef who actually cooks on the line every night we are open, but equally importantly, I bring an academic perspective to all aspects our business. We support local farmers, are mindful of our energy and water consumption, maintain an active food-waste repurposing program, and give back enthusiastically to our community and a variety of causes which align with our personal and business philosophies. Opening an upscale restaurant in a town with no history of it during the toughest economic times of our lifetime was a risky proposition by most measures, but my vision, drive, passion, and work ethic are unwavering. For eight years, we have been a mainstay in Downton DeLand and remain a draw for many first time and returning visitors to DeLand. No pain no gain, they say.
I am excited at the prospect of leading and growing a “food studies and sustainability” program at Stetson University. Ultimately, my goal is to inspire and nurture individuals who will grow from their experience in academia into the thought leaders and problem solvers of tomorrow. Food is a great equalizer and my hope is that through experiential learning and thinking, students in the food studies program at Stetson University will shape and improve all aspects of local, regional, national, and even international food systems.