GVFaces: Justin Wendt

April 9, 2024 (Volume 47, Number 16)
Article by Samantha Drougel

GVSU executive chef Justin Wendt received Pro Chef Level Two certification through the Culinary Institute of America. 

The certification measures a chef’s core culinary, managerial and financial acumen, including skills in flavor development, proper cooking methods, dish profile and authenticity, plating, use of ingredients and sanitation. 

Wendt said in order to receive certification, chefs must be nominated for training. He was chosen by Aramark to go through the four-month training course and extensive testing. 

“It is widely considered the premier culinary institute in the country,” said Wendt.

After four months of preparation, Wendt went through four days of rigorous testing. “The practicals were on bakery, pastries, healthy cooking, garde manger (preparation of cold food) and Mediterranean cuisine,” he said. 

The testing consisted of 10 hours in the kitchen and two hours of written practicum over four days. He said when testing was done for the day, he would study for the next set of exams.

“Having to go back to intensive study this many years after graduating was humbling and a little overwhelming. It was the most difficult testing I've experienced since graduating,” said Wendt.

Wendt graduated from the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education in Grand Rapids and has been at Grand Valley for 12 years. In 2022, he was promoted to executive chef. 

Wendt said he takes pride in mentoring fellow chefs while spending most of his time in the kitchen. He also assists campus food venues with their menus and caters events.

Wendt said he has a love for the Grand Valley community. “I like that Grand Valley is all about the students, it is a good commitment to have,” said Wendt.



This article was last edited on April 9, 2024 at 9:45 a.m.

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