WVU Tech has kicked off its partnership with Chef Paul Smith. It’s all about the importance of the two-year culinary program and the direction of tourism in West Virginia.
Smith says the facility is one of the best in the state. He calls this partnership important to them and the industry.
The chef says he will utilize his resources and restauranteur network across the Mountain State to provide the students with real-world experience while they’re in school.
“So they have a sense of urgency when they come out, they know what they’re ready for, and also to give them a choice,” James Beard finalist Smith said. “So many different avenues that we can go into as chefs. But the number one thing is education and knowledge.”
WVU Tech President Dr. Ramon Stuart calls Chef Paul a dedicated Mountaineer.
“Someone who bleeds gold and blue… someone that believes no matter where you go, these country roads should always bring you home,” Stuart said.
The 16 students in the culinary program are going to have an incredible opportunity to learn from renowned Chef Paul.
“The students are gonna be able to experience things that they normally probably wouldn’t be able to just within our everyday courses,” said culinary program director, Chef Devin Moor-Mackowiak. “He’s got a lot of experience and passion for the craft and it’ll be something great for the students to be able to experience with him.”
Starting in this business years ago, according to Chef Paul, his parents said he had to graduate college because when this ‘hobby’ of cooking stops, he would have something to fall back on. It’s not like that anymore, Smith says ‘they are kinda the new rockstars’ and everyone wants to know what the chefs are cooking and where they got their ingredients.
“It’s also important for these chefs to know sourcing, to know supporting local and I think, above all this — I want to keep a lot of these great culinarians here in West Virginia,” said Smith.
Chef Paul says his career has taken him from a chef at the University of Charleston, the Ritz Carlton, the Biltmore, small country clubs, to a corporate chef for a meat and seafood company in business development and corporate sales and now he owns his own restaurant. He says these are all different facets of the business and take different skill sets. So he wants to make sure the students are getting the most out of their education.
“Whether it’s in a restaurant, whether it’s at the sporting club, whether it’s at the Green Briar,” he said. “Wherever it might be; if I can help be a conduit to get these students connected with the right place.”
In his second year at WVU Tech Culinary, Chase Savilla previously talked to Chef Paul about possibly doing an internship with him once the semester is over — so to get to work with him in the program he says is very exciting.
“I would love to own my own restaurant one day… I have been in the culinary industry since I was 14,” said Savilla. “I get to do what I love to do and make money with it. But most importantly, I just love helping people. Cooking for people is my favorite thing to do.”