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ND chef honored for achievements

Ann Marie Jakubowski | Thursday, September 6, 2012

Notre Dame’s dining is not only noted for its exquisite dining hall designs, but now it is also known for its wide range of food as well as its executive chef, Donald Miller, who was awarded with the 2012 Chef Professionalism Award by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).

Miller, an ACF member, was nominated for the award by his peers and advanced to the final award ceremony by their votes.

“The criteria for the award has to do with my work as an ACF member,” Miller said. “It’s broken down into my involvement with culinary education and the work I do in the South Bend community, but at its core, it’s about professionalism.”

Miller said the ACF is dedicated to improving culinary arts throughout the nation, focusing on educating new generations of chefs.

“The ACF works to promote culinary education and food certification to raise skill levels in kitchens throughout the country,” Miller said. “With 55,000 members, it means a lot to me to receive this prestigious award.”

At the University, Miller’s daily duties include both food service logistics and hands-on kitchen work.

“My ultimate job is the integrity of the food on campus, whether it’s in the dining halls or any of the retail operations,” Miller said. “Basically, I have to teach and train the staff, and then work alongside everybody in the kitchen to develop staff skills.”

Other duties include developing and writing menus; while another priority project for Miller is service with the social responsibility committee, which focuses on the stewardship of food resources.

“We are the first university in the country to be certified by the Marine Stewardship Council in seafood use, which shows that we’re doing a lot of work to be good stewards of the food resources we intake,” Miller said.

Miller said that he had not been expecting  to win the award, but that it speaks to the standards of quality demonstrated by the Notre Dame kitchens.

“To me, this award just means that we’re doing all the right things and taking them into our kitchens to raise the level of professionalism here,” Miller said. “I didn’t set a goal of winning the award, but I was doing my job in the way I thought was right, and then I was recognized for it.”