A Conversation with Our Culinary Director
October is National Gourmet Adventures Month, and we’d like to introduce you to our new Culinary Director, Chef Sedrick Crawley. Chef Sed’s gourmet adventures have taken him from the world of fast food to fine dining and beyond. He went from “perfecting greasy plates to plating Foie Gras” thanks to his culinary training at L’Académie de Cuisine, formally in Gaithersburg, Maryland. A born leader, Chef Sed later went on to become the director of the school’s Bethesda, MD campus.
Chef Sed’s work as a culinary coach, author, mentor, and television personality on Good Morning Washington and The Food Network’s “Sweet Genius” have led him to build a wide network of clientele whom he loves to create one of a kind corporate team building and competitive events for. You may also see Chef Sed as the Head of Culinary Operations at the annual Metro Cooking DC for the last 4 years, where he works with the likes of Martha Stuart, Wolf Gang Puck, and Guy Fieri, just to name a few.
We asked Chef Sed the following questions:
What inspires you to cook?
Creativity – I like to take ingredients and make things that haven’t been tried before or coming up with a new way of making something. I’m able to create any culinary vision that I think of. I also like to transform food into edible art, so plating is really important to me.
When did you know you wanted to become a chef?
The first time that I visited the Académie de Cuisine and I saw Chef Patrice commanding and controlling the kitchen. I later learned that the word “Chef” signifies “a Chief” that needs to lead a team and I went through the ropes and learned everything that I could to become that person.
What is your signature dish?
I love to make arancini! I enjoy making risotto, and also, they get fried…which really speaks to my culinary roots! I also love making brick oven tomato sauce topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
Who do you look up to as a chef?
My favorites are Emeril Lagasse and Thomas Keller. I respect Emeril because he was a star before people knew what TV chefs were so he set the model for teaching how to cook and how to transform the cooking to TV. He’s an excellent cook as well. Thomas Keller is one of my favorites because he took a beaten down place that someone gave him and turned it to one of the world’s most exclusive restaurants through pure will and grit. If you know what it’s like in the industry you appreciate, and respect sweat equity, professionalism, and vision.
What is your biggest pet peeve in the kitchen?
People who don’t clean while they work. It is important to know that the kitchen is a stage – you don’t want to have clutter and chaos. You want it to be clean, safe, and professional. I hate sloppiness. There is no place for it in the kitchen.
What else is in store for Chef Sed in the next 5 years?
I would like to build out a kitchen stadium to start a program for culinary enthusiasts and amateur cooks to have fun, interactive culinary experiences. Think of it as an escape room meets Iron Chef – a full culinary adventure for corporate America!
How do you think makes Pizza University’s Brand Partnership so successful?
We have partners that have quality and time-tested ingredients. Our partners care about the programs and bring the same level of passion and participation to their profession as we do to pizza. The partners provide high caliber education in addition to their fantastic products to our students and clients. Our partners’ products are industry leaders and are totally in line with the quality and authenticity of our pizza.
What are you most excited about coming on board with Pizza University?
The chance to see Pizza University grow to a world-wide level, where we have outlets in various places are recognized as the world’s leader in pizza education by all.