Alumni Stories

Joseph Stayshich

Culinary Arts

Culinary Director, Adair Restaurant Group
The Art Institute of Houston


Your staff will respect you and follow your lead if you don’t crumble under pressure. Joseph Stayshich , Culinary Director, Adair Restaurant Group Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts, 2004 , The Art Institute of Houston

Encourages Creativity, International Flavor in the Three Kitchens He Oversees 

Joseph Stayshich is the culinary director at Adair Restaurant Group, responsible for the culinary aspects of three different restaurants. “I help to keep our company steered in the right direction on a daily basis by working with the individual chefs to achieve food and labor goals. The best part is our quarterly menu changes. Every three months, we roll out a new menu that needs to be tested, costed, and integrated,” he says. Joseph’s previous positions include working for Karbach Brewery, Benjys Rice Village, Cullen’s Upscale Grille, 17* Restaurant, and the Daily Review Café.

Each day, he checks emails, views sales and labor information, and reviews communication logs to see if there are immediate needs or issues that need to be resolved. “Typically I will have one concept that is my focus. I check to see that standards of operation are being met. I usually have a meeting with the owners but honestly, there is no typical work day in the culinary world.”

Joseph says that while routines are important, the culinary industry is full of curve balls. “Yesterday, I was mediating a dispute between employees then went directly to doing plumbing work. You have to be flexible and handy.”

He earned an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts in 2004 from The Art Institute of Houston—and says that his education showed him how to look at the kitchen from a financial perspective. “I took a lot away from the menu engineering and cost control classes. While I love to cook, it doesn’t mean much if you don’t create profitability.”

Joseph recommends that current students be stronger than the problems they’re working to solve. “Your staff will respect you and follow your lead if you don’t crumble under pressure.” He recalls a time when he was switching gears from managing one kitchen to managing many. “I had to switch up my management style. I wasn’t running a kitchen anymore, I was running three and couldn’t rely on my ‘kitchen style’ of management. I really had to look at how I interacted and managed people in order to adapt and be successful. I now employ multiple styles of management based on need.”

To cultivate a creative environment in the kitchen, Joseph asks his employees to research the culinary environment in the United States and beyond. “I want them to bring fresh ideas to the table. I praise them for their ideas and execution of those ideas. They don’t always meet the mark, but we learn what to do better. I think this gives people license to make mistakes. People are so afraid to fail these days, I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t been allowed to make mistakes.”

Joseph adds that he is always learning something new about the business of culinary. “I have opened two different concepts since coming aboard and have had many learning experiences. From the financial aspects to the employee management to maintenance and repair, it’s all under one umbrella. It’s not just all about cooking.”