Interview with Joe Grella, Graduate from KU Melbourne Center for Culinary Arts 

I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with a KU Culinary graduate Joe Grella about his life after graduation and you won’t believe what he shares!

Joe graduated from the KU Melbourne campus with his Associates of Science in Culinary Arts back in 2011. Since then, he’s worked at several different restaurants, all in management positions including the one he currently works at called 1 Oak on Elm and The Dugout in New Hampshire, as the Executive Chef. Joe has been so successful in his career that he was recruited for Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen show. For those of you who don’t already know, Cutthroat Kitchen is an auction based cooking competition comprised of four contestants who battle head to head to win the title and receive a cash prize.

Check out what Joe had to say below:

–       What made you decide become a Chef?

I grew up in a household that taught me an appreciation for food and what food can be. We never ate fast food – my grandparents did most of the cooking. This profession truly requires a passion for people. The fact that I can make a person’s night better through cooking a good meal is reason enough for me.

–       Why did you choose KU?

After graduating high school in 2007, I took some time to do my research before jumping into my college career. Out of all of the options out there for culinary arts, KU best fit my needs with the accelerated classes. Being able to do my prerequisites online was also a huge sell for me.

–       How was your experience as a KU student?

I loved it. My Chefs were amazing – they taught me so much, in such a short period of time. I am very grateful for all the hard work they put in to help me achieve the success I have today. I still keep in touch with them as well as my classmates. We became a tightly knit group and I am very proud of where we all ended up.

–       Congratulations for being a participant on Cutthroat Kitchen! Can you tell us a little about your experience on the show?

Well, since the episode has not been aired yet, all I can tell you is that it was the experience of a lifetime. I had never been to California before this trip so it was incredibly exciting. It was honestly the type of experience that Chefs dream of. Very rarely do Chefs get recognized for the work they do, since it is behind closed doors, so it was nice to be sought out by Food Network. It was a great honor.

–       Do you have any advice for someone wanting to pursue their Culinary Arts degree at KU?

Don’t stop – No matter how hard it gets. And believe me, it will get hard but it will all be well worth it in the end. You have to see the bigger picture, and constantly work towards your goals. Also, always stay connected. It’s important for your career to build relationships with people. That’s actually something I learned from my KU professors.

Thank you SO much Joe for allowing me to interview you. You gave us great insight on what it’s like to be a Chef. Joe’s episode of Cutthroat Kitchen will be aired on June 14th at 10:00 pm on the Food Network. Check your local listings.

As always students, if you want to share something on ELSE, or have any questions or comments, feel free to email me. I would LOVE to hear from you!

Your fellow KU student,