Part Three: Chef Richard Rosendale: On CVap’s Wow Factor

Chef Richard Rosendale

Read all parts in this series: Part One | Part TwoPart Four

Chef 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.

Chef Rosendale's Achievements - The Short List

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.
Chef Richard Rosendale

Perhaps surprising to some, he walked away from much of that to spend more time with his wife and three children in Leesburg, Virginia. 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. 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 fifty international culinary competitions where he went toque to toque with international talents. When chosen to represent the United States in the 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.

Working Smarter, Not Harder

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 ten 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,” 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.

Read how Rosendale left The Greenbrier to venture out on his own.

Part Two: Richard Rosendale: A Steady Climb to Greatness

Chef Richard Rosendale presentation of marrow

Read all parts in this Richard Rosendale series: Part OnePart Three | Part Four

How a love of his grandmothers’ meals laid the groundwork for an outstanding career.

Like so many chefs who achieve greatness in the restaurant industry, Richard Rosendale’s food foundation centered on family meals. On modest means, his mother raised him and his sister in Union Town, Pennsylvania. And like some teen boys, Rosendale struggled some to find his way. His school grades weren’t great, and his mischievous nature led to some minor troubles.

What did ground him, however, was food. His Italian and German grandmothers’ cooking. “It put a big smile on my face. Even today I get that feeling when I go to grocery store and think about what I’m going to make for dinner. It makes me happy.”

He never envisioned being a chef, but the pace and action of restaurant work attracted him to the back of the house. After high school, he earned a culinary degree.

Cooking kind of found me early on,” he said. “I’d finally found something I could sink my teeth into. You know when you find something you love doing, and I did.

Chef Richard Rosendale presentation of marrow

Getting Noticed

As Richard Rosendale’s instructors and bosses recognized the young chef’s unusual focus and attention to detail, he was given more responsibility and leadership roles in the kitchen. Soon he was working as a chef’s apprentice in countries like Italy, Germany and France, where he discovered a love of cooking competitions. Rosendale would go on to medal in 55 competitions, including the 2004 World Culinary Olympics, where his team earned gold.

Rosendale would return to the U.S. to work under numerous Certified Master Chefs (CMC) around the country. He was learning to blend the refined techniques of haute cuisine and modern kitchen technology. A stop at The Greenbrier resort to work under CMC Hartmut Handke would prepare him for an eventual return there as its youngest ever executive chef. But not before he’d endure some business challenges.

In 2007, when only 31, Rosendale opened Rosendale’s Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio’s popular Short North area. A second operation, Details Mini-Bar and Lounge, followed a year later. Though each received critical acclaim, running young restaurants amid the peak of the Great Recession proved unprofitable. He shuttered both. Fortunately for Rosendale, The Greenbrier wanted him back and offered a promotion. Young and ambitious, Rosendale was the ideal choice to lead the food and beverage program at the legendary resort through a massive overhaul. As executive chef, he oversaw 13 kitchens, and five new restaurants opened under his watch. He also launched the resort’s dedicated 44-acre farm.

I got a lot of experience running huge, multi-outlet operations at Greenbrier,” he said. Adding with a chuckle, he said, “It would have been nice to have known about CVap back then.

Preparing for Bocuse d’Or

While at The Greenbrier, not only did Rosendale earn his CMC, he won a silver medal at the Bocuse d’Or USA qualifier in 2008. He bettered that mark by earning gold at the USA qualifier in 2012, setting the stage for him to compete in Lyon, France, in 2013. To assist in his year-long preparation for what’s arguably the world’s most elite culinary contest, The Greenbrier allowed him to assemble a contest-replica practice kitchen in its fallout shelter. (Located a short distance from Washington, D.C., the room there was built circa 1950 to house high-level U.S. government and military officials in the event of a nuclear war.)

And that’s where I practiced on my days off for a solid year,” Rosendale said. “Without that, there would have been no way I could have prepared for that event like I did.

Read on about Rosendale’s performance at the Bocuse d’Or, and about his decision to leave The Greenbrier upon returning to the U.S.

Part One: Rosendale Against the World

Chef Richard Rosendale prepares a dish

Read all parts in this series: Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

A year of intense preparation lead Richard Rosendale to the most prominent stage of his life.

To win gold at the Bocuse d’Or USA qualifier, Richard Rosendale used a CVap® oven to cook a deboned chicken reassembled to appear whole by forcing the meat—believe it or not—into the shell of a Mr. Potato Head. He stuffed the bird with a mixture of sage and country ham, wrapped it in plastic, and closed it inside the toy. Leveraging the CVap’s low temperature, high humidity settings, he cooked it slowly and thoroughly while retaining its shape.

Rosendale prepares for Competition

Once it was up to temperature, I took the chicken out, put it into and out of a deep fryer four times to get the skin a little crispy, and then basted it with a winter truffle butter and sprinkled it with chives and sea salt,” Rosendale said. “To be able to cook that all the way through at such a low temperature can’t happen in a traditional oven. It would never have been that juicy and evenly cooked.

Rosendale would go on to prepare for the 2013 Bocuse d’Or culinary competition using a fully equipped replica of the competition kitchen he’d use in France. It was constructed in the basement of his workplace, The Greenbrier Resort. Every inch was measured off to equal the workspace in France. And every piece of permissible competition equipment was purchased for the set-up.

Chef Richard Rosendale prepares a dish

Achieving His Goal

That was my Bocuse d’Or headquarters, the place where (the coaching) chefs came to help me refine my dishes,” Rosendale said. To mimic the raucous atmosphere of thousands of fans who attend the highly patriotic event, “I had crowd noise coming in on loudspeakers. That can be a distraction if you listen to it, but once you get into your rhythm, you don’t notice it much.

Years after the event, he still speaks with awe about the deep education gained in that single year of focused training. Being surrounded by some of the greatest culinary minds in America helped him anticipate problems and find solutions in ways he’d never considered. He described the education as “equal to ten full years of learning normally.”

But having gone through that, I now think about problems differently from most chefs. If you haven’t gone to that level of training and creativity, you may not know it even exists,” said Rosendale. “When you’re sitting around a table with Grant Achatz and Thomas Keller, you see the ideas they come up with as striking but possible. Suddenly you’re figuring out new ways to do things. The lines of what once was just the realm of possibility have been moved.

Under the clock at the Lyon competition, Rosendale and his commis, Corey Siegel, endured five stressful hours preparing dishes. According to Newsweek.com, their menu included hickory grilled beef filet with asparagus and horseradish, fried hollandaise, a take on the Yankee pot roast using oxtail, potato dumplings, a resplendent coil of carrot, bone marrow, and more. The fish dish, turbot was slowly cooked and enhanced by ham, black truffles, cider-cooked butternut squash, a potato and leek cigar, and a wine emulsion.

Though hoping for America’s first gold medal win, the duo placed seventh behind the winning French team. Disappointed but not defeated, Rosendale acknowledged his team’s advance past its 10th place finish the year prior. He expressed gladness over being the last American chef who’d work full time while preparing for Bocuse d’Or.

That’s become part of the program now, to focus 100 percent of that year on the competition,” Rosendale said.

That change netted solid results four years later.

Matt Peters finally won it for the U.S. in 2017,” Rosendale said. “It’s great to see our chefs getting the benefits of every year of building blocks the chefs before them put in place.

Having achieved his goal of competing at Bocuse d’Or, Rosendale returned to his job at The Greenbrier with a new outlook on his role there. Satisfied with his accomplishments, he felt an eagerness to take his talents elsewhere.

I had young kids, and I saw the need to spend more time with them at that age,” Rosendale said. “I also wanted to return to being an entrepreneur.”

Read on and learn about Rosendale’s climb up the culinary ladder and toward his collision with CVap Technology.