Did you know that I have a side project with a local pastry chef? That’s right! After photographing the soft opening of Rosaria’s Coastal Italian restaurant in Perrysburg a few months ago, I have continued to work with Executive Pastry Chef Chad photographing his delicious treats (and eating my fair share, too). 

Chef Chad is wonderfully talented. You can taste it in his creations, but did you know that Chef Chad only started his career in 2010? Let’s learn more about him.

Chef Chad began his culinary journey when he thought it would be a great idea to open a restaurant with absolutely zero experience in the restaurant industry. He realized he should learn a thing or two about restaurant ownership before investing in it. Therefore, in the Spring of 2011, he enrolled at the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education (SICE) at Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. What was only intended to be a short two-year stint has turned into a decade of education, teaching, traveling, tasting, experiencing, studying and learning.

While at SICE, he was hand-chosen to become the first culinary tutor in the 25-year history of the program. He also worked at some of the finest restaurants Grand Rapids had to offer. He was selected to be the Chef Instructor to open the learning kitchen at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market, and his culinary teaching career began. He also helped launch two different summer culinary camps for kids and teens.

He was on a mission to learn. Once he graduated from SICE (he was valedictorian, by the way), he enrolled at Johnson & Wales University (JWU) in Providence, Rhode Island. There, he was hired as a Teaching Assistant. As a TA, he was responsible for “Wing Night” and what began as a 4-hour shift and 250 pounds of wings quickly turned into over 1,500 pounds of wings and students lining up hours in advance, resulting in long lines running through the building; lines so long, the fire inspector cited us for having too many people in the building and for blocking fire exits!  

He spent the summer traveling, staging at several restaurants, from 3-Michelin Stars to backyard BBQ joints.

Chef Chad completed his externship at Salt of the Earth, a hyperlocal, farm-to-table restaurant in Michigan working under one of the best chefs the industry could offer. He also found himself volunteering and teaching culinary and life skills to at-risk youth.

During the Fall of 2015 and the Spring of 2016, he launched an underground pop-up restaurant called Nomadica, a travel pop-up concept that traveled the east coast popping up on farms, in empty restaurants, on beaches and deep in the forest. It was the success of Nomadica and the passion I had for teaching that allowed me to realize my life was finally on its “purpose path”.

When he graduated from JWU with his associate’s degree, he continued to teach various culinary summer camps. He spent time staging at some amazing places in New York, including Mast Brothers Chocolate. That’s when Chef Chad began to focus more on pastry and learning all he could about the fascinating world of chocolate, sugar, cream and eggs!

He found himself consulting and then temporarily settling into Kalamazoo Community College in the Fall of 2017 as the Chef Instructor of the culinary program’s capstone class. Students ran the program’s restaurant and dinner service. He loved it! The restaurant and his students were successful under his leadership.

From the Fall of 2017 to the Summer of 2021, Chef Chad wasn’t a chef, but he itched to return to the kitchen and classroom. He completed his master’s degree in Non-Profit Management and began a second master’s degree in Food Safety and Global Sustainability. He also taught and consulted for restaurants during this time.

In the Summer of 2021, he accepted a job as a restaurant consultant and chef instructor teaching Serv-Sage classes in the Great Lakes area. During one of these classes, he met Chef Jordan, Chef Vic and Dustin from Rosaria’s. They all clicked immediately, and it was decidedly so that they were destined to work together. Therefore, Chef Chad landed in Perrysburg, Ohio at Rosaria’s.

Thank you Chef Chad, for always being so fantastic and making beautiful, tasty treats for me to photograph!