Richard Rosendale has achieved some of the loftiest heights in the culinary world, but with a renewed focus on family, a new restaurant and a culinary instruction firm, he’s got a whole new spin on career and kitchen equipment.
If you want to know some of the remarkable accomplishments achieved by Richard Rosendale in a quarter century as a chef, prepare for some research. Not only is the list lengthy, he doesn’t mention them readily. He may even forget some of them these days since the present and future are more important than the past.
Still, we’d be remiss if we didn’t indulge you with a short list:
- One of 70 Certified Master Chefs in the U.S., passing the eight-day, 130-hour test on his first try (90 percent fail on their first attempt).
- The youngest (at age 31) executive chef in the history of The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
- One of five chefs the United States World Culinary Olympics in 2004, a quintet that took gold in a battle with 31 teams.
- America’s chef for the grueling and prestigious 2013 Bocuse d’Or competition, in which he placed seventh.
And perhaps surprising to some, he walked away from much of that to spend more time with his wife and three children in Leesburg, Va. Oh, he didn’t disappear, he just redirected. He’s got a new barbecue-centric restaurant, Roots 657 Café & Market, and a culinary training lab and instructional school.
“I do like staying busy,” said Rosendale, now 44. These days, however, busy could easily be translated as life balance. “Your goals and pursuits change as you age. Mine certainly did.”
Rosendale allows he was fortunate to have gained the mentorship of some of the world’s greatest chefs, though chefs like him tend to attract the masters. Determined, disciplined and highly competitive, Rosendale has cooked in more than 50 international culinary competitions where he went toque to toque with international talents. When chosen to represent the United States in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or in 2013, his chef advisory panel included Thomas Keller, Grant Achatz, Daniel Boulud, Gavin Casin and Gabriel Kreuther.
“That’s a real who’s who of culinary talent,” said Rosendale. A film documentary dubbed “The Contender,” chronicled his Bocuse d’Or adventure. “When you surround yourself with talent throughout your career, you keep striving to get better.”
Knowing such access to such people is rare, he later formed another company, Rosendale Collective, which hosts one- to three-day workshops led by accomplished chefs. The sessions are for professionals and novices alike.
“That’s a lot of fun for me, the teaching,” he said. Unique to his workshops, however, is their emphasis on high-tech kitchen gear. In an industry perpetually challenged by labor shortages, Rosendale is certain technology is the best long-term solution. “We have two people in our culinary lab doing the work of 10 people doing the same things at The Greenbrier. … (Use of that equipment) equates to a better value for customers and increased compensation for highly skilled cooks and chefs on the team.”
He counts Winston’s CVap among those tools. For years he’d cooked sous vide, but upon seeing CVap cook using a combination of water vapor and dry heat during a National Restaurant Association show, he got interested.
“The first one I purchased was for Roots, where I use it for holding our smoked meats in,” Rosendale said. “Not many people see the connection between smoking a pork shoulder and sous vide: cooking low and slow and using different types of heat transfer.
“CVap’s ability to hold that meat perfectly until it’s served is just one of many, many ways we use it. And I know we’ve not come close to figuring all those out.”