The American Culinary Federation (ACF) Minneapolis Chapter recently recognized Chef Pierre Rabbia, Saint Paul College Culinary Art Instructor, as their 2021 Chef of the Year. ACF Minneapolis Chapter Chef President John Van House shared that their Board was impressed with the strong commitment from Chef Pierre in the areas of mentoring, volunteering, and instructing as instrumental to him winning this award.
Chef Pierre was born and raised in France, surrounded by the bakery profession. He attended several prestigious culinary programs in France but dreamed of someday coming to America. In 1992, the company he was working for (Accor) committed to a new program of having 2% of their staff in US hospitality locales come from France. Pierre applied for the program and hoped he would be selected to work somewhere glamorous like Hollywood or Miami. He recalls being excited when he was chosen to come to America but was not even sure where Minnesota was when first told he was selected to work at Hotel Sofitel in Bloomington. He did know that it would be cold after watching the Superbowl that year in Minneapolis when they showed ice castles.
He fondly recalls the truth he found in the term “Minnesota nice” as he was received at his first American job with kind, patient, and supportive co-workers at his first job, despite his language limitations. After several years at Hotel Sofitel, Chef Pierre served as a Culinary Instructor at Le Cordon Bleu until they closed their North American schools in 2016 when he came to Saint Paul College. He describes his job as Culinary Arts Instructor at Saint Paul College as the best job he has ever had. Chef Pierre finds it very rewarding to work with students early in their life journey and have the privilege to mentor students to reach their full potential. He adds that he considers himself a purist who feels connected to his early child roots when he can teach students how to do the right thing, including focused attention to detail in pleasing people through culinary and people-service excellence.
Chef Pierre admits to having a savory tooth for bread, especially artisan and sourdough. Sara Johannes, fellow Culinary Arts Instructor, shares just how much excellence and dedication Chef Pierre brings to the Culinary Art department for its students:
Chef Pierre is very involved in the local ACF chapter, providing them with the same guidance, expertise, and commitment to excellence that we (and his students!) are lucky enough to experience every day in our classes. We could not be more proud of him and are delighted that he has been recognized for his dedication to culinary excellence in the Twin Cities.