Confessions of Erwin Schmit

Aramark's Erwin Schmit confesses his love of Obama and dislike of food TV.
Erwin Schmit, foodservice director for Aramark at Grainger in Lake Forest, Ill., doesn’t get TV food programs, admires President Obama and has eaten octopus while it was still moving.

Q. What is the best part of your job?

Being creative with culinary programs, catering and marketing to achieve the goals and commitments we’ve made to clients and customers at Grainger.

Q. What is the worst part of your job?

Being my own worst critic. If something doesn’t go as planned, I try to remember that tomorrow is another day and another opportunity to improve.

Q. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Being nominated twice for Aramark’s International Guest Chef program, six Midwest region Culinarian of the Year awards and being nominated to work with Charley Trotter at Trotters Restaurant.

Q. Which talent would you most like to have?

Anything with musical instruments.

Q. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Being overly critical of myself and over thinking things.

Q. What is your greatest fear?

Letting people down.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?

President Obama.

Q. What is your favorite meal?

Cajun food.

Q. What is your "guilty pleasure?"

Vacuuming.

Q. What will people always find in your refrigerator?

Homemade dressings, hot sauces and spicy peppers.

Q. What food fad do you wish had never started?

Food programs on television. They give people that want to be chefs the wrong idea of the business. They make it seem so easy, but the real world in this business is very different.

Q. What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten?

Live octopus in Japan, cut up and served while still moving.

Q. What do you consider to be the most overrated foodservice trend?

Deep frying everything.

Q. Read the book or see the movie?

Read the book. It’s cheaper.

Q. Are you a morning or evening person?

Way early morning person.

Q. What are your words to live by?

“Impossible is not a word, just a reason not to try.” It's hung above my desk.

Q. If you had a time machine what historical event or era would you visit?

The late 60s and early 70s. Things changed in a lot of ways then.
 

Q. What do you value most in a friend?

Trust.
 

Q. What would be your dream vacation?

Being in one of those huts on the water in Tahiti.
 

Q. If you could eat dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be?

My dad.
 

Q. What is your most treasured possession?

My collection of 50,000 comics, from the 50s until 2000s.
 

Q. Who is your favorite celebrity chef?

In the past, Emeril and Charley Trotter, but I also have a lot of respect for what Jamie Oliver is doing.
 

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
staff pack

To keep staff motivated, we locked them in a room together. As part of a midsemester training session, we formed work groups and sent them to a local Escape Room to see which team could play the game together most effectively and escape first. Not only was this training a great team-building experience, but it supported a local new business and gave our staff a memorable experience.

Ideas and Innovation
star employee

Senior leadership meets twice a year to do organizational talent planning for every position from the top down. We talk about who are the potential high-performers, and go through how they can grow. People are your differentiator—you need to take care of your assets, and your assets are your human resources.

Industry News & Opinion

Students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor will be served student-grown produce from the campus farm at dining halls this fall, M Live reports.

The dining team received its first batch of produce from UM’s on-campus farm in June, after students received the proper USDA certification to grow, harvest and deliver food to campus dining halls. In order to figure out what produce is needed, students communicate with the dining department weekly, and Michigan Dining purchases items accordingly.

"The students are involved from seed to plate," Executive Chef Frank Turchan...

Sponsored Content
college students eating

From Ovention.

Today’s colleges and universities know they should offer more than a large selection of breakfast cereals in the morning and chicken tenders at lunch to appeal to students. When it comes to what’s trending on campuses, here’s a look at what directors can tune into to boost engagement.

1. Expanded dining hours

Late-night options have long been a popular fixture on college campuses, but if it’s too late, students often choose to venture to off-campus retailers to satisfy their cravings. According to Technomic’s 2017 College & University Consumer Trend...

FSD Resources