Ai Raleigh-Durham's Chef Oliver Wins ACF Raleigh-Durham Chef Educator Award

By: Eric Tullis Filed under: Culinary

January 30, 2018

On Saturday, January 20th, the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Raleigh-Durham Chef’s Association held its inaugural Chef’s Ball at the newly opened StateView Hotel in Raleigh, NC, where The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design, Chef Instructor Marci A. Oliver, CEPC, CCE, was awarded the ACF Chef Educator of the Year award from a pool of culinary educators throughout Raleigh and Durham, NC.

Marci Oliver Chef Educator
Chef Marci Oliver is congratulated by ACF Raleigh-Durham Treasurer, Chef John Boretti, for winning the Chef Educator award. Also pictured: Ai Raleigh-Durham Academic Director for the School of Culinary, Chef Leslie Eckert and ACF Raleigh-Durham President, David Voelz.

According to the ACF’s website, the Chef Educator award “pays tribute to an active culinary educator whose knowledge, skills, expertise, guidance and direction have enhanced the image of the professional chef and who, by example, has given leadership, guidance, and direction to students seeking a career in the culinary profession.  This person demonstrates the ability to help students define and develop their careers by using their skills and abilities to provide a strong foundation for their future success.” This is the first year that the award is being given locally. 

“I find it extremely rewarding working with students,” says Oliver, who has been a chef educator for nearly eight years.  “When I was in the industry, I spent a lot of time mentoring. You would hire a new cook or culinary assistant and spend all of this time trying to mentor them, but there was also all of the daily work to do as well.  So, it’s really great to get to focus on the education piece.”

This award is just the icing on the piece of cake, if you will, for the certified pastry chef. In both 2013 and 2015, Oliver took home the bronze medal in the ACF Competition, and in 2014, she won silver.  Then, last year, she received her Certified Culinary Educator (CCE) designation.  She credits her achievements to having a career as chef educator, which isn’t considered as demanding or grueling as working in the cooking industry.

 “I’ve really enjoyed working at Ai-Raleigh-Durham. It’s the first time that I’ve been able to focus on teaching,” says Oliver. “It’s allowed me to have a better home life than I did when I was in the industry, I’m able to be more involved with ACF, and I’m able to do more competition work. She’s also learned a virtue that isn’t always practiced in the cooking industry.

It’s a virtue that has made her a better chef educator. “I have definitely had to learn a lot of patience,” says Oliver. “Not everyone learns in the same way or at the same speed. Some people get it on the first try and some people need a second chance. I’ve learned that the student is more important than me, so I need to tailor what I do to fit their needs.”

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By: Eric Tullis Filed under: Culinary

January 30, 2018