Confessions of Rafi Taherian

Rafi Taherian wishes he was more athletic and loves ossobuco.
Yale University's Rafi Taherian loves cheese, hates parking tickets and thinks molecular gastronomy is overrated.

Q. What is the best part of your job?

Being able to say I work at Yale.

Q. What is the worst part of your job?

Parking tickets.

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

Empowering our team with transforming us into the greatest dining organization possible.

Q. What is the most unusual foodservice/catering request you have ever received?

A groom asked that the entrée for his wedding be made from the fish he would be catching. We didn't know if he would catch enough to feed everyone, but he did and it was a great wedding.

Q. If you weren't in foodservice what would you be doing?

Urban planning.

Q. Which talent would you most like to have?

Memorizing names of people I've met.

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

Be more athletic.

Q. What is your greatest fear?

Not doing my best.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?

My wife and my son.

Q. What is your favorite meal?

Ossobuco with soft polenta.

Q. What is your "guilty pleasure?"

Bread.

Q. What will people always find in your refrigerator?

Cheese.

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

Low-fat stuff.

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

Baby octopus with all the inners.

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

Molecular gastronomy.

Q. Read the book or see the movie?

See the movie. It's faster.

Q. Are you a morning or evening person?

Very early morning.

Q. What are your words to live by?

Treat people the way you want be treated.

Q. Who is your favorite celebrity chef?

My grandmother. If she lived today, she would certainly be a celebrity.

Q. What activity is at the top of your bucket list?

Go back to visit Italy after 25 years.

Q. What is your most treasured possession?

My garden.

Q. What is your dream vacation?

Argentina.

Q. What do you value the most in a friend?

Truth.

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

The National Mall on August 23, 1963.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

This semester, the East Quad dining team at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is taking steps to offer more authentic global cuisine , Michigan Daily reports.

The team has partnered with the Office of Student Life to start a conversation with students on how best to create and serve Middle Eastern and North African cuisine. Additionally, the university invited chefs from Japan and India to campus to help its chefs create more authentic recipes.

The school’s push for more accurate global cuisine was partially inspired by an international food event that got cancelled...

Industry News & Opinion
Madison food truck

The Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, Wis., has partnered with a local organization to debut a food truck that will serve healthy, locally sourced lunch options for Madison high school students, according to The Capital Times .

The truck, which was donated by the Emmi Roth Cheese Co., will visit four high schools Tuesday through Friday, spending a day at each campus. Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch can use the food truck as they would the school cafeteria for no-cost or discounted meals.

Members of MMSD and partner organization REAP Food...

Industry News & Opinion

Identifying prospective employees may be less challenging for foodservice operators than getting would-be recruits to complete the hiring process , according to a new study of why job applicants bail.

The report shows that nearly three out of fours applicants (74%) will drop their effort to be hired if they suspect management is racist, and two out of three (62%) will flee if they learn of sexual harassment allegations. Roughly the same proportion (65%) will halt their pursuit if they encounter indications of a gender gap in pay.

About half (45%) of candidates won’t show...

Menu Development
zoodles

Here’s how two operations are spotlighting produce this season.

Oodles of zoodles

Binghamton University underscored its growing focus on plant-based options with a recent zoodle pop-up on campus. The pop-up, which served vegetable noodle bowls in vegan and vegetarian varieties, sold out of the dishes in four hours. The Binghamton, N.Y., school aims to add zoodles to its regular menu in the fall.

A buffet boost

The dining team at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, recently re-evaluated its buffet offerings with an eye toward adding healthy options. It updated the fruit and...

FSD Resources