Chef Michael Herr, 1997 Culinary Arts graduate and 2003 graduate of the Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management program, will be the honorary guest speaker at the Culinary Arts graduation ceremony on August 8, 2009.
Herr, age thirty-one, is currently executive chef at The Country Club of St. Albans, a prestigious Platinum Club of America in the scenic village of St. Albans, Missouri. A full-service, private country club, CCSA currently has a membership of seven hundred, who enjoy championship golf courses, luxurious club facilities, and an extensive variety of social events. The Country Club of St. Albans is regarded as a club of distinction and was ranked in 2007 as seventy-fourth in the nation out of six thousand private clubs. Herr oversees all food outlets on the property as well as all banquets, member carry-out dining, off-site catering, and club special events including social, golf, swim, children’s camp, and tennis events.
Chef Herr began his professional career in 1997 as an extern at the prestigious Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh. He apprenticed with renowned Executive Chef Keith Coughenour. Within two years, Michael achieved the position of P.M. senior saucier and P.M rotisserie chef. He remained at the Duquesne Club one more year before he decided, after encouragement by Chef Coughenour, to return to IUP to complete his bachelor’s degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management.
After graduation from HRIM in 2003, Herr was hired as a saucier at Pinehurst Golf Resort and Country Club in Pinehurst, N.C. He was promoted to senior sous chef three months after he started at the property. Chef Herr’s next career move was to sous chef at the award-winning, AAA Five-Diamond Ritz-Carlton in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. After a brief but successful tenure at the Georgetown property, he was promoted to chef de cuisine of Century Restaurant at Ritz-Carlton in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2004. Chef Herr joined St. Albans in late 2005 to take on the position of executive sous chef. He was promoted to executive chef in 2007.
In addition to his successful culinary career, Chef Herr has also attained many professional awards of distinction, including several gold and silver medals and best of show titles from the American Culinary Federation. Most recently, Chef Herr competed in the Fall 2006 Chef de Cuisine Culinary Competition (St. Louis ACF Chapter) and earned a gold medal and best of show.
On Toque Day (so named because culinary graduates will receive their chef hats, or toques), Chef Herr promises to share many of his experiences with this year’s graduating class and to encourage the class to maintain the personal goal of excellence that has distinguished so many previous IUP Culinary Arts graduates.