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.