Jim Yarbrough, senior associate director of food services, says: Greg completed an ACF apprenticeship program here at Notre Dame in January of 2007. He excelled in the program and upon completion was promoted to floor chef, which is the equivalent of sous chef. Greg takes existing processes and looks for ways to improve them. In our North Dining Hall, where he works, he was instrumental in developing a Sub-Continental concept including Indian and Pakistani dishes. Greg approaches everything with a “can-do” attitude. He is passionate about the culinary arts and teaches other staff every day in his area of responsibility.
Getting my current job. My goal when I was starting out was to get a job where I was responsible for things. This was the first job I’ve had where I felt like I had to really earn it.
I think I am more of a risk taker. I’m not afraid to make mistakes and try new things. I don’t know if it’s ambition or just a level of naiveté, but I want to take on all these challenges and just make an impact in every aspect of the dining hall.
There was older chef who worked here and he told me “when you stop learning, you stop growing.” At first, I thought it was kind of a cliché, but he sat down with me right before he was about to retire and he showed me a log he kept of his entire career and life. It showed who he was as a chef and showed all the opportunities he took to keep learning. I think that really changed my way of thinking.
Managing people. I had to discipline people who throughout my apprenticeship had taught me things. At that time I was afraid to make mistakes because I didn’t want to look weak. That was a very difficult process.
I just took an advisory role for an apprentice, which is how I got started. I was taking him around to introduce him to some of the other chefs on campus. When I introduced the new guy to this other chef who was an apprentice with me, he told the new apprentice that he was very lucky to have me as his adviser. That was really rewarding to me because I didn’t really realize the impact I’d had on people.
My first goal is to become a certified executive chef from the ACF. My second goal is that I want to start traveling more to learn different cooking styles.