Resort Chefs Conference Has Many IUP Connections

Posted on 12/3/2013 2:21:55 PM

The Resort Food Executive Committee (RFEC) is dedicated to excellence in food preparation and the career development of future chefs. Its members include chefs from some of America’s greatest resorts and industry leaders, including IUP Academy of Culinary Arts faculty member Gary Fitting and alumnus Jeremy Critchfield.

The group’s annual conference, themed “Country Chefs Can Survive,” was hosted in October 2014 by RFEC President Brent Wertz, vice president of Food and Beverage and executive chef for Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. Activities included going country, complete with bib overalls and flannel shirts, enjoying lunch on a hill side, butchering chickens, and then changing into black tie for dinner!

The IUP Academy of Culinary Arts was honored to be represented at the conference in many ways:

Sean Echman '00 with Chef Brent Wertz Sean Eckman, the executive sous chef of Fine Dining and a 2000 graduate of the IUP Academy of Culinary Arts, oversaw the preparation of the exquisite meals served to the conference guests at Nemacolin. Food service included a 16-course dinner at the Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond restaurant Lautrec, where IUP alumna Kristin Butterworth ’01 is the chef de cuisine, and a dinner at the Forbes Four-Stars Aqueous, where alumnus Tyler Hutchison ’09 is the sous chef.

RFEC member and IUP alumnus Jeremy Critchfield ’93 hosted the guests for lunch at his restaurant, the Stone House

Chef Gary Fitting and Chef Brent WertzFaculty member Chef Gary Fitting is an honorary member of the RFEC in recognition of his former position as executive chef at the five-star, five-diamond Cloister Hotel in Sea Island, Georgia; his apprenticeship at the Greenbrier in West Virginia; and his experience teaching culinary students at IUP. The committee values the insight he is able to contribute from both professional and student perspectives. 

The Resort Food Executive Committee member properties include 25 nationally and internationally recognized resorts which have earned a four- or five-star/diamond rating.

“Promoting and educating the future chefs of tomorrow is a paramount goal of the RFEC.” The IUP Academy of Culinary Arts sends student externs to these properties each year because of the broad educational and professional opportunities that these resort properties are able to offer to beginning culinarians.