Vanderbilt Campus Dining is much more than food service. They think of themselves as your student’s “kitchen away from home.” From the Director to the Catering Chef, Vanderbilt Campus Dining has recruited amazing culinary talent.
Highlighting the Chefs
Camp Howard, CEC
Camp Howard, Director; Bill Claypool, Assistant Director; and Gary Rawson of Rand Dining Center are all Certified Executive Chefs (one of the highest achievements in the culinary arts). These CEC’s are multi-award winners including “Chapter Chef of the Year,” “National Regional Champion – Seafood Challenge,” “Silver Medal – Collegiate Chefs Conference Culinary Competition” and many, many others.
Camp Howard, Tom Allen, and Bill Claypool are all graduates of the CIA (Culinary Institute of American – highly decorated school of the culinary arts).
Chef Bill Claypool, CEC Executive Chef and Assistant Director, has made a career as a chef including tenure at Loews Vanderbilt, Biltmore Hotel, Sunset Grille, and Cheekwood. He is also a graduate of the CIA. When he isn’t creating culinary delights at The Commons, he teaches cooking classes in Franklin, Tenn. at the Viking Culinary Center. Recently Chef Claypool participated in industry cooking competitions and won two bronze medals.
Chef Gary Rawson, CEC, AAC has spent over 40 years in the culinary arts including Executive Chef positions in elite hotels across the country. He was the Chef of the Year recipient in 2003 and the Chef Bill James Award winner in 2002 (long-time chef at Vanderbilt, Chef Bill James, was the inspiration of Chef James Bistro at Rand). 2012 Inductee of the American Academy of Chefs Society. Chef Rawson has made many television appearances including Talk of the Town and the Food Network.
Chef Tom Allen, is a graduate of the CIA. His background includes chef positions at: Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel, Belle Meade Country Club and Nero’s Grill. Chef Allen’s Awards include: National Regional Champion in the National Seafood Challenge, Chef of the Year – American Culinary Federation (Tennessee Chapter), Silver Medal in Team Competition for the American Culinary Federation.
Chef John Kelly, The Commons, has a degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University. His love for cooking began in high school and has not stopped. He has worked his way around kitchens in hotels across the country and then for a popular restaurant chain for 10 years.
Vanderbilt Campus Dining chefs are able to incorporate their fine dining culinary background into the college food service environment by using familiar ethnic-driven cuisines that provide diverse flavor profiles. The university community has been an excellent platform for them to experiment with different cuisines.