GRCC chefs at work

GRCC Cooks Presenters

Wilfredo Barajas

Wilfredo BarajasChef Will has worked all over the country in some of the top hotels in the industry, including Peninsula Hotel in Chicago and Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

He is currently a chef instructor at GRCC’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education where he teaches baking and pastry courses. When he is not in class he is in the kitchen working on chocolate candies, confections, and showpieces!

Register for Chef Will's workshop.
 

Josef Huber

Chef Josef HuberChef Josef Huber recognized his passion for cooking early in his career. His journey to culinary excellence began at age 16 in the 5 star, 5 diamond Elisabeth Park Hotel in Salzburg, Austria. This initial foray into the culinary realm caused a world tour of training and employment opportunities. Chef Huber's resume includes training in the Imperial and Bristol Hotel in Vienna, Austria; The Regency in Bangkok, Thailand; the Breakers in Palm Bach, Florida; and the Mandarin Oriental in Hawaii and California. Notable chefs he has trained with include: Bocuse, Verge, Palmer and Le Notre. For the past fifteen years Chef Huber has displayed his considerable talent and management expertise as the Executive Chef at the world-renowned Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. During this time, Chef Huber has orchestrated a culinary brigade which was awarded the first ever and only AAA, 5-diamond restaurant in the state of Michigan. Josef Huber is known for combining multi-ethnic cuisine with traditional cooking to bring forth a tour de-force for the palate. His recipes have been featured in Gourmet Magazine, The Palm Beach Post, Food Arts Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner, and Rogue and Noir. He has appeared on several cooking shows including the development of his own cooking video series, "Culinary Extraordinaire," in 2004.

Register for Josef's workshops.

 

Raymond Kusmack

Ray KusmackChef Raymond Kusmack is the catering chef for Aramark Higher Education at Grand Valley State University. Chef Ray received his American Culinary Federation Executive Chef, Certified Chef D’Cuisine and Pro Chef II certifications from the Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio. He is also a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York. 

Chef Ray has held several high profile positions as an executive chef at Tapawingo, an acclaimed Michigan restaurant, cooking for star chef Mario Batali on several occasions; and corporate chef for Dow Chemical. Chef Ray has also been an executive chef at Kellogg World Headquarters ARAMARK Business Services where he has taken gold medals for the district and regional ARAMARK Culinary Education (ACE) competition, and the bronze medal for the national ACE competition judged by chefs Charlie Trotter and David Burke. Chef Ray has also apprenticed at acclaimed restaurants while working with some of America’s best chefs: The French Laundry (Thomas Keller), Trio (Grant Achatz), Handkes Cuisine (certified master Chef Hartmut Handke). 

Register for Ray's workshops.

 

Michael Schafer

Michael Schafer

The wine counselor Michael Schafer Esq. is a charismatic speaker, educator Sommelier, certified specialist of wine who entertains while educating. His humorous and fun approach is reflected in his trademark phrase “I taste bad wine so you don’t have to." 
 
Michael is an adjunct professor at The Culinary Institute of Michigan at Baker College. He created the Dorsey Schools Beverage program. He is an international keynote speaker at spirits and wine events around the globe. Michael has authored numerous articles in various publications, including cover stories for Hour Detroit, Michigan Wine Country and Edible Grand Traverse. His quarterly articles are found in the Tasters Guild Journal and the Journal of the American Wine Society

Michael is on the board of directors of the Detroit Wine Organization, a charitable organization over 6,000 strong, dedicated to funding charities through entertaining education. 

Laugh, learn and have fun as the wine counselor "edutains" you about wine and spirits.

 

Kathleen Schiefler

Chef Kathleen SchieflerChef Kathleen is a hometown girl and graduate of the GRCC Culinary program. She has traveled the world studying foods, traditions and international customs, and also attended stints at Ecole de Cuisine LaVarene in Burgundy, The French Pastry School in Chicago, and the CIA in Napa Valley.

She brings her highly respected talents as a chef, 18-year veteran of the catering industry, wine judge, adjunct professor, former owner of a specialty food and wine shop, writer and teacher to all of her classes, giving a perspective that is dashed with tales of history, splashed with inspiration, and baked with practical real-life experience.

Register for Kathleen's workshops.

 

Robert Stritzinger

Robert StritzingerChef Robert Stritzinger is an award-winning chef whose passion is to inspire, inform, and empower others to take control of their health and well-being through diet. He is a graduate of GRCC's Secchia Institute for Culinary Education and recently returned for the Craft Brewing program.

Chef Robert’s journey has taken him to New Mexico, Arizona, and Yosemite National Park in California. Along the way he became a certified Chef de Cuisine through the Culinary Institute of America’s rigorous Pro Chef certification program and then a certified Executive Chef through the American Culinary Federation (ACF).

As the ACF Chapter Chef of the Year, Chef Robert has won numerous accolades including three gold and one bronze medal in ACF culinary competitions. He has also served on a Santa Fe committee for Wine and Chilies, appeared on two of Rachel Ray’s cooking shows, has published recipes in five cookbooks, and is currently working on his first cookbook. 

Register for Robert's workshops.

 

Chris Wessely

Chef Chris WesselyIn conjunction with the Grand Rapids Sport and Social Club (GRSSC), Chris directed his passion back to food, taking it to the next level. Chef Wessely pursued his culinary degree and graduated as valedictorian of his class in the spring of 2011 from the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education. Chef Wessely retains a strong fine-dining culinary work experience from Louis Benton's Fine Dining Steak House here in Grand Rapids, to the Bay Harbor Yacht Club's a la carte restaurant in Bay Harbor, Michigan.

In addition to an A.A.S. in Culinary Arts, Chris has a B.A. in Political Science, Communication, and Japanese. He completed a highly competitive immersion exchange program in Tokyo where he also furthered his Japanese culinary studies. Chef Wessely was the co-founder of the Personal Chef Group company, successfully building up the business and eventually sold it in 2011 to pursue further endeavors via the GRSSC.

Today, Chef Wessely has combined his love of cooking with the "socialness" of the GRSSC's events. The result: Simple Sushi! Chef Wessely truly embraces the mission to share his culinary knowledge and passion for sushi and finds that cooking classes are a wonderful medium to pass on skills, allowing individuals to create healthy, delicious food on their own in the comfort of their home.

Chef Wessely also teaches sushi classes at the GRCC Cooks program as a guest chef and his professional awards include the Extraordinary Culinary Student Award, Steven Raichlen's Ultimate Grilling Recipe Contest, and first place in the Hudsonville Chili Cook-Off.

Register for Chris' workshops.