Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Reynolds Culinary Students Don't Just Shine 

. . . They Glow

Professors always appreciate hearing kind words about their students. So, getting a full-fledged epistle like the one below is as unexpected and rewarding as a perfect chocolate souffle.

Reynolds culinary students make their professors and their college proud. They are a dedicated, hardworking group, devoted to learning and perfecting their craft. Chef Jesse has taught them that even the smallest details matters . . . and they have learned that lesson well. 

Read what Melissa Collier of Everyday Gourmet wrote to Chef Jesse Miller about Reynolds students on not one, but two occasions. In the first email the "Sam" Melissa is referring to is Sam Bausone, one of two Reynolds students to win the 2019 Elby Student of the Year Award; "Anna" is Annamarie Zanetti. In the second email, "John" is John Bradley, the other student who won the 2019 Elby Student of the Year Award. 

Pictured here from top to bottom, Sam Bausone, Annamaria Zanetti, and John Bradley.

From: Melissa Collier 
Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 11:58 AM
To: Jesse Miller <>
Subject: Everyday Gourmet and the 2019 Elby Awards

Good Afternoon,

My name is Melissa Collier and I am the office manager at Everyday Gourmet. I wanted to come down to the school and tell you this in person, but I know you are very busy and I did not want to catch you at a time that you would not have moment to really appreciate what I have to say.

On Sunday, April 28th, Everyday Gourmet catered the 2019 Elby Awards at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery for 550 people.  We had two students from your Pastry Arts program volunteer their time to assist us in executing this very important event and it would not have been a success with out them. Sam and Anna were nothing short of phenomenal. They both played key roles in making sure our diverse, delicate and intricate passed hors d'oeuvres were properly and uniformly assembled then presented beautifully on our passing trays. They both had lovely, attentive, indefatigable and helpful attitudes and showed me that they have what it takes to succeed in this industry.

In 2007, I graduated from J. Sargent Reynolds with my A.A.S in Culinary Arts. I would not be who I am today without the amazing education that I received from Reynolds and I see myself in both Sam and Anna. Having them with me, working so hard with and for me, really touched my heart.

Anna showed up on time with a smile on her face. She saw all of us setting up and everyone focused, going from here to there and immediately set her belongings down and offered her help. She was ready to hit the night head on and she knocked it out of the park.  Anna was kind, curious and I could feel her heart and soul going into everything she did.  From having a notebook with pen in hand ready to take notes when I started to explain how the hors d'oeuvres were going to be constructed to having to dance around 10+ cooks in our small tent while still making sure those delicate cucumber cups and deviled eggs were filled and garnished just right during passing time to not hesitating to get down and dirty during clean up, Anna was extraordinary every step of the way.  I personally loved her thoughtfulness of her fellow workers, offering up waters she brought from home, had bandaids at the ready for any mishap that may happen and her passion not only for her work but for her family. She must have lovingly mentioned her family ten times over the course of the evening, how they were excited for her to work this event, how much they wanted to try the food and how much they meant to her. I made sure she got some to go containers with goodies for them to try.  I wanna meet her family and tell them what a wonderful, driven, strong, kindhearted and empathetic woman Anna is and how much of myself I see in her. I have no doubt they are proud of her and have every right to be.

Sam was a breath of fresh air. From the moment he stepped foot in my tent, I knew our crew was complete. Sam was professional, on time and ready to help in any way he could. He had passion in his eyes and his attentiveness and care for detail was exquisite. Anyone around him could feel his passion and strong will to produce his best. He was gentle, kind and willing to step up when things started rolling. I was unaware that Sam was going to be receiving the title of Rising Student and did not figured this out until he came up to me and politely asked if he could excuse himself because it was time for the awards. I could see from just the few short hours that I worked with Sam that he deserves that award. I was ecstatic when he returned, told him I was so excited for him and he deserved it and his response was that he was glad he received it but the whole time during the awards ceremony, he could only think of getting back out to help and be with us. That right there really meant something to me that I can't put into words. The infectious smile he had the whole evening is etched in my heart. He was truly a pleasure to be around and work alongside of.

This industry is special and it takes people with heart and soul and passion to succeed and be happy in their lives simultaneously and I can tell you that Sam and Anna have what it takes, hands down, and I can not wait to see the amazing, wonderful, chart topping, heart stopping things that they will produce in their careers. I was truly blessed to have the privilege of work with them.  I teared up releasing them that evening, I didn't want them to go but the event was over.

I would be honored if they would be willing to join me again on Saturday, May 11th at Dorey Park in Henrico for the Virginia Capital Trail Foundations' Annual Cap2Cap Trail Ride presented by Hardywood Brewery. We will be feeding 2,000+ cyclists and their families a salad buffet lunch at the Post Ride festival held at Dorey Park.  The hours would be from 10 a.m. to around 3 p.m.  Myself and one other employee from Everyday Gourmet will be there with the Glee Club from a local high school to help us.  This will be an amazing event and I know that they would enjoy it and learn some valuable things from being part of it. (See Melissa's follow up email below that give a recap of the May 11 event.)

I would greatly appreciate it if you would personally ask them to be part of this event with me. I want them to know how amazing they are and that you are aware of the exceptional job they did Sunday.

Thank you so much for taking the time to hear what I had to say and I eagerly await their responses regarding May 11th.

Melissa Collier
Everyday Gourmet

From: Melissa Collier 
Sent: Monday, May 13, 2019 12:03 PM
To: Jesse Miller <>
Subject: Re: Saturday May 11th Everyday Gourmet

Thank you for reaching out to John, he saved my life Saturday! Out of the nine volunteers we were supposed to have, only two showed up and an hour late.  

John was amazing and there was no way that we could have pulled off feeding the 1,400 plus we fed without him. He was there, ready to work when we arrived. We had an hour to set up two salad buffet lines and prep area with just three of us.  I think I may have said five non-work related words to John in the five plus hours he busted his butt for me. He single-handedly took care of a whole buffet line. He had no less than 200 people go through his line with no help other than me keeping his items full before our two high school student helpers showed up. I put half this event solely on John shoulders from the get go and he took it with a smile. 

He rocked through standing in the very same spot for four and a half hours straight with no breaks, no down time and was happy, talked and joked with customers and kept his non stop line rolling. John toughed through serving while getting rained on for two hours straight.  We had our tent pulled over our customers heads while they were in line receiving food and getting rained on and John did not hesitate to accommodate and be flexible. 

So many different things happened at this event and it's all still a blur. I had no time to breathe let alone be the face of our company because I was behind the scenes keeping the lines stocked and I thank God John was there. I was proud to have him there. I felt his confidence and I knew, when we were 30 min away from guests arriving and all I had was him, my husband and myself, that he was going to be amazing.  I literally put him in the weeds, close to drowning, after only having met him 30 minutes prior.  I have to work with him again. I feel speechless regarding him and his performance.  I am still in AWE. 

Thank you again for reaching out to your students.  I will contact you again soon, I know we have more events coming up that I would love to have students at. 

Melissa Collier

Note: Several Culinary students will be helping Melissa again at Broad Appetite on Sunday, June 2. If you plan to attend, please stop by the Everyday Gourment booth and let them know you are part of the Reynolds community.

What's Cooking in The Kitchens at Reynolds this Summer

Building Update
The building that will house the Kitchens at Reynolds in the Church Hill area of Richmond is really taking shape. All the exterior concrete walls have been poured, and the large openings in those walls are awaiting the delivery of the curtain wall/glass systems. The floor slabs have been poured on all four levels of the building. The only concrete slabs remaining to be poured are some of the roof areas.

As you go within the walls of the building, you will see several of the interior systems taking shape. The erection of metal stud framing for the interior partitions is in progress on every floor. Permanent stairs are only in place between the first and second floors. Access to other floors is only by means of temporary stairs. The mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are well underway. Mechanical ducts and air handler units are being hung from the underside of the floor slabs. Conduit lines are being routed overhead in the above ceiling spaces and within the metal stud framing. Electrical cable is also being routed from the electrical panels into the conduits throughout the building. There is a vast network of hot water, cold water and sprinkler pipes being installed.  The building is becoming the wonderful facility it was designed to be! 

Building Update courtesy of John Mitchell, Senior Project Manager | CBRE | HEERY; Aerial photo courtesy of Horrigan.

Sneak preview of the building interior taken during a hard hat tour:

Steve Markel says Church Hill project, which includes grocery store, 'is truly a philanthropic operation'

Steve Markel said he and his wife, Kathie, are trying to make a difference in Richmond’s East End.
The couple are financially backing a mixed-use development in north Church Hill that includes a new 27,000-square-foot grocery store, a culinary school operated by J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, retail and office space, and 42 apartments.
“This is not a typical real estate project where one expects to get rich. This is a not a typical real estate project where one hopes to make money,” Steve Markel told the 150 people attending a breakfast meeting of the Greater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate held at the Country Club of Virginia.
“This is truly a philanthropic operation,” said Markel, the vice chairman of the Henrico County-based specialty insurer Markel Corp. “My goal in this project is to lose as little money as possible. One important point is for the long-term sustainability for the project. It is important that the grocery store, which is the center of this project, becomes self-sustaining.”
The Market @ 25th grocery store opened three weeks ago at North 25th Street and Nine Mile Road with a pharmacy, deli, fresh fish and seafood, sushi counter and salad bar. A credit union branch is expected later.
“A lot of sweat equity will go into making this happen,” he said. “For it to stay in place for the next 10, 20 and 30 years, it doesn’t have to make a lot of profit but it does need to be financially viable.”
It is too early to say how the store is doing, but Markel is pleased with the initial results. “The community reception has been very positive.”
Markel said he and his wife decided to look at the poverty issue in Richmond’s East End and find a way “we could make a difference.”
That part of Richmond, he said, has the highest concentration of poverty on the East Coast between Philadelphia and Atlanta. “It is sad that we have let that evolve like that.”
It also is home to four large public housing communities — Mosby, Whitcomb, Fairfield and Creighton courts. And the life expectancy in that area is 62 years old compared to suburban neighborhoods where residents on average live beyond 82 years old.
“We had two goals,” he said about the couple’s plan.
“Try to make the neighborhood healthier with a grocery store and fresh food. And to provide jobs. The store employs about 100 people, which has an impact on jobs in the community. The second goal for Kathie and I was to get more engaged in the community about the problems that exist and get a great understanding of the issues,” he said. “The first goal has not been met, but the second one certainly has.”
The grocery store is part of the Church Hill North project that the Markels are developing.
The building for the culinary school operated by J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College is under construction and should be ready in early 2020, he said.
It will have state-of-the art culinary kitchens, classroom space, offices and a greenhouse facing Nine Mile Road.
A 5,000-square-foot restaurant is planned for the fourth floor of the building that Markel said will have “absolutely incredible” views of downtown Richmond.
Attached to the grocery store are The Flats @ 25th apartments, a 42-unit complex that is above the store, and the VCU Health Hub @ 25th community resource center. Residents started moving in last weekend, Markel said.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Meet Ariel Cole

Special Events Manager, Advancement

Where did you grow up and what was it like?
I grew up in Fairfax, VA and it was wonderful! But I think my family had more to do with that than location. I grew up in a close family with amazing parents, a brother and a sister and close extended family. My grandmother, aunt and cousins all lived in our neighborhood. As a kid it was great!

How long have you worked for Reynolds and have you always been involved with events planning at the college?
I have been at Reynolds for four years now and have been the Special Events Manager from the beginning!  Before Reynolds, I was the Assistant Director of University Events at William & Mary.

As Special Events Manager you have a reputation for being extremely detailed, incredibly organized, and always appearing to remain calm in the face of any and every challenge.  Does this come naturally to you, or did you have to develop these valuable skills?
I have always been a detailed and organized person, that has come naturally. If it involves file folders and color coding, I’m in! 
Remaining and appearing to remain calm in the face of challenges, however, has come with experience. Before higher education, I managed events in several hotels and at Busch Gardens Williamsburg . . . let’s just say working in the hospitality industry will teach you some things!  I’ve encountered my fair share of challenging customers (ahem, mother-of-the-brides), inclement weather emergencies, hotel renovations and other obstacles that can impact the success of an event. 
I learned three key things: 
1.  Don’t freak out.  It doesn’t help anything. 
2.  Plan, plan, plan. Plan ahead for different scenarios and everything that you CAN control. This way you will have the time and flexibility to adjust to things that come up that you CAN’T control.  
3.  You can’t do it alone. I depend on a team of colleagues, vendors and other industry partners for every event that I manage.  Building and maintaining good working relationships is essential. I need partners that I can trust to get the job done and who I can call on a moment’s notice if needed.
How many events do you orchestra each year at Reynolds? 
Do you have a favorite one, and why?
On average, I am involved with about 50 events each year. My favorite annual event is our Scholarship Luncheon. It is lunch for about 200 scholarship donors and recipients where they get to meet each other. Donors are so excited to meet all the amazing students and learn what they are studying and what they plan to accomplish. The students are equally as eager to express their appreciation - it is a powerful event.
Every year there are also some fun things that pop up – a visit from the Governor, a building grand opening or, my favorite from this year, a presidential inauguration! 

What are the most challenging and most 
rewarding parts of your job?
I think the most challenging sometimes is letting go and trusting other people to do their part for an event – hard to do for a planner! The most rewarding part is seeing an event go from concept to live event and knowing all the little pieces that had to come together to make it happen. 

What is your favorite book or movie, and why?
Too many to choose from! I’m going with one of my childhood classics, Home Alone.  My siblings and I were obsessed with it and still quote it to this day. My poor dad had to endure years of Home Alone “traps” in the house.

What is your favorite activity outside of your work at Reynolds?
Love the beach, being outdoors and just spending time with my family. We have a son who is five and a daughter who is one and a half who keep things fun and interesting! 

What do like most about Richmond?
Food and craft beer! 

If you won $100 Million in the Mega Millions lottery what would you do with the money?
Support The Kitchens at Reynolds! I would help my Development team with a major gift to finish the fundraising campaign for The Kitchens. And then pay off the mortgages of everyone in my family, buy my dad a pickup truck that he’s always wanted, and travel!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Two Reynolds Students Named 

"Culinary Students of the Year" at Elby Awards

Reynolds Culinary Arts Students Sam Bausone and John Bradley
John Bradley (center) and Sam Bausone (right)
receive their Elby awards.
Reynolds Culinary Arts students Sam Bausone and John Bradley were named Culinary Students of the Year at the 8th Annual Elby Awards hosted by Richmond Magazine.

The Elbys, Richmond's Oscars for food, recognize the work of the city's dining community visionaries, staffers, chefs, restaurateurs, producers and beverage makers.This year over 600 Richmond Food Scene Lovers came out to witness the awards. Reynolds is proud to have Sam and John recognized for their hard work and dedication as students of the culinary craft.

Sam Bausone
Sam Bausone
Sam said this about his award: "I was honored hear that I was student of the year. The staff at Reynolds has helped me to become much more confident and able it the kitchen. I want to thank Chef Miller and Chef Rounds for all of the knowledge they share with us. I look forward to continue growing in this industry." Read Sam's Culinary Profile.
John Bradly in Reynolds Cooking Uniform
John Bradley
John had this to say about his award: "I'm humbled to have received this year's Elby for Culinary Student of the Year. I am especially thankful for the Culinary and Pastry Arts program at Reynolds, and to my internship with Chef Jannequin at Camden's Dogtown Market. I also greatly appreciate Chef Cook and his team at ZZQ for opening their kitchen to me. All of them have given me something to aspire to as a professional, and I'm honored to have the opportunity to learn from them." Read John's Culinary Profile.