New R&D Director Brings Passion, Experience, and an Empathetic Mindset
Culinary Culture is very excited to announce the return of Chef Chris McAdams as our new R&D Director!
In this position, he’ll have the opportunity to help build organizational structure and envision what the future of the company looks like.
Chris brings his own unique experience, knowledge, and vision with him, but if you were to ask him what characteristic he has that makes him different in this industry, his answer is simple: Empathy. The ability and willingness to understand and share in the feelings of others makes all the difference. It’s what allows us to to truly be of service.
This trait has helped him earn a reputation within the industry as a leader and mentor.
Chris started working in restaurants in Colorado when he was 15 years old. The lifestyle was a good fit for him and he stayed in the industry throughout high school. It wasn’t until he joined the U.S Air Force at 19, that he stepped away from the hospitality industry.
His service took him to San Antonio, Wichita Falls, and Hampton, VA, before returning to Denver to earn his BS in Human Nutrition & Dietetics from the Metropolitan State University of Denver. After graduation, Chris joined his family’s company as the Director of Marketing & PR and began Master’s studies in Marketing at the University of Denver. He spent 3 and a half years building a strong foundation of public trust and fiscal success at the company before refocusing back to his true interest – food.
Knowing that the food industry was where he wanted to be, but unsure of the right path, Chris started at the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, in Boulder, CO. After graduating top of class, he moved to London for an externship with Sally Clarke of Clarke’s Restaurant. Here, under the tutelage of Chef Sally and Chef Michele Lombardi, he was able to explore multiple facets of hospitality. This included line service in a world-class kitchen, preparation of RTE foods for their market, and a stint at Clarke’s bakery.
Introduction to Culinology
Inspired by the diversity of opportunities, Chris began looking for careers outside of restaurant kitchen service. It’s here he stumbled upon the Research Chefs Association. The discipline of Culinology was exactly what he was looking for. Within a day he had become a member and begun sending resumes to companies recognized within the organization as leaders.
That’s how Chris met Allison Rittman, the Owner and Certified Research Chef at Culinary Culture. After moving back to Denver from London, a visit to Austin was all it took to trigger another transition.
Time at Culinary Culture
For 3 years, Chris worked side by side with Allison in Austin creating CPG products, developing restaurant menus and operational structures, and innovating within the foodservice category. During this time, Chris began taking on management of his own clients, which eventually filled his schedule. At this point, Culinary Culture allowed him to transition from Austin back to Denver to be closer to family.
In Denver, Chris operated his own R&D kitchen under the Culinary Culture organization. This helped the company expand its network of partners and offer new services, like food photography.
Testing the Waters
After another 2 years of work in Denver, Chris was hungry for a new challenge and opportunity. This came by way of a position with a firm based out of Boston, MA. While the separation from Culinary Culture was certainly bittersweet, the relationship between Allison and Chris remained strong.
The transition to Boston was an exciting refresher and confidence booster, but it still wasn’t the right fit. Thankfully, that ongoing relationship with Allison allowed an open discussion about what would make Culinary Culture that fit. This conversation eventually became an offer to be the R&D Director of Culinary Culture.
Rejoining Culinary Culture to help guide it into the future proved to be the opportunity both parties were hoping for. While Chris will remain in Boston, operating an East Coast R&D Kitchen, much of his time will be spent doing strategic development, mentoring, and building new systems to ensure long-term success. This will free Allison up to focus on what she loves: building strong relationships and developing amazing products.
As Chris settles into his new position, the focus remains clear: exceed expectations, always. Not only for partners, but for employees, suppliers, and peers alike.
Culinary Culture will continue to pursue excellence in all aspects of it’s operation to make a positive impact on our industry and the world around us.
For Chris, the best way to do this is to remain passionate about the work we do while maintaining an empathetic outlook. We must understand and share in the feelings of others to be of service. And being of service is what the hospitality industry is all about.