Jan. 3, 2007
PHOTOS: John Moloney with daughter Lily, 14, who was his kitchen assistant for the certification. The salad, appetizer and entrée prepared by Moloney. Click on the images to download high-resolution versions.
Moloney becomes Certified Executive Chef after cooking tests
To earn a Certified Executive Chef (CEC) designation from the American Culinary Federation, University of Iowa chef John Moloney faced a cooking challenge similar to one that might be seen on "The Iron Chef" on the Food Network or "Top Chef" on Bravo. For this test of practical cooking expertise, he prepared a complete gourmet meal using a set number of ingredients in just three hours.
Moloney, an assistant food production manager/chef in the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU), used his best cooking skill during the test, which required using four different vegetable cuts, four cooking methods, and making a vinaigrette and two sauces. He wrote a three-course menu including a fish appetizer, salad and main course, and prepared each to be judged by the CEC evaluators.
"I finished about 10 minutes before the allotted time was up," Moloney said.
For the appetizer, he made salmon carpaccio with a Belgian endive and lobster slaw topped with lemon garlic aioli. For the salad, he combined bibb lettuce, tomato and goat cheese relish with a vanilla poached pear and artichoke crisps; a vinaigrette dressing was on the side. The entrée was oven-roasted chicken breast with a chasseur sauce, braised root vegetables and sautéed spinach.
In addition the practical cooking test taken at Des Moines Area Community College, Moloney also took a written test covering more than 20 topics that evaluated his knowledge of culinary preparation and kitchen procedures. The CEC designation is given to chefs who manage large foodservice establishments with a staff of five or more.
Moloney and Barry Greenberg, director of IMU Food Services and CEC designee, oversee the other talented chefs and food service professionals that make up the IMU's Food Services. The team is in charge of preparing all catering operations, presidential dinners, Lunch with the Chefs, and game day operations of the premium seating areas at Kinnick Stadium. IMU Food Service also provides retail food operations at 12 restaurants and convenience stores on campus.
At the IMU kitchen, Moloney oversees the bakery, salad and the cook's area. He also assists in ordering all of the food for the kitchen and creating menus. During the football season he is in charge of the premium seating concessions as well as taking care of the culinary needs at Kinnick Stadium's premium suites.
Moloney began his culinary career in 1981, starting as a line cook at Arnie's North in Highland Park, Ill. He has been at the IMU since 1993 where he served as the sous chef in The State Room, the previous fine dining restaurant in the IMU, and was promoted to chef in 1995. He began working full time in the main production kitchen after closing the State Room in 1997.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500
OTHER INFORMATION: IMU Dining: http://imu.uiowa.edu/dining/; certificate information from the American Culinary Federation: http://www.acfchefs.org/Content/Education/Certification/Levels/CEC.htm