Find your cullinary voice

Robert Ramsey

Robert Ramsey grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. His first summer job, in 10th grade, was as a prep cook and busboy, where he fell in love with the “fast pace and convivial environment on the floor.” He continued to work part-time in the restaurant industry while studying graphic design at Virginia Commonwealth University: “While my friends viewed it as a good way to make some cash, I used whatever free time I could at work to get creative with ingredients—sometimes with disastrous results.” Eventually he switched gears to get an associate's degree in culinary arts, followed by a bachelor's degree in culinary and service management.

After he'd spent some time in the restaurant industry—including working in Tennessee at the James Beard Award-winning restaurant The Barn at Blackberry Farm, and being named chef de cuisine of the Michelin-recommended Brooklyn restaurant Bar Corvo—his mother, an educator, encouraged him to teach at ICE. Teaching in ICE’s career Culinary Arts program, he's been pleased to discover that “the students really have a genuine interest in learning and are excited to be here—something you don’t necessarily find in every school.” His experience lies largely in the cuisine of the American South (especially the foods of Appalachia), “not only because it ties me to home, but also because it is such a melting pot of European, African, and Native American foods.” But he's still learning, too: “In the long-term, my goal is to develop a level of understanding for Eastern cuisine that matches my knowledge of food of Europe and the Americas, through travel and research.” In the meantime, some of his most treasured accomplishments include hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail, teaching at ICE, and, if all goes to plan, completing his first full marathon in New Orleans in 2016.

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Meet Chef Robert