Alumni Chef Wastes Not: David Rocheleau '01, MBA '10

By JWU Media Relations
March 2018

The stats on food that is simply wasted is staggering. Forty percent of the food grown in the U.S. goes uneaten. However, Chef David Rocheleau, a graduate of JWU, is moving to lower that statistic in Rhode Island. He cooks up meals everyday at Crossroads Rhode Island, the area's largest homeless services organization. As the organization's executive chef, he incorporates local ingredients that farmers and restaurants donate.

In a feature profile with Providence television station WPRI12, Chef Rocheleau described what he can offer to some of the state's most vulnerable citizens. "I’m able to provide them with something healthy that they might not be able to provide themselves."

Some sources of food waste include overproduction from the foodservice industry, disposal of unattractive fruits and vegetables that are naturally misshapen by grocers and markets, and foods that are tossed from shelves because their "best by" date has come and gone.

According to Chef Rocheleau, the nonprofit sector that feeds the public is gaining an advantage in offering current trends to its clients. "The same trends that influence restaurants are trickling down to community meal sites," he says. "Specifically farm-to-table, urban agriculture, ethnic influences and fusions." Farmers are cultivating items to meet the demanding tastes of fine diners such as locally grown produce, whole grains, and organic items. When such items arrive at Chef Rocheleau's kitchen, he expands his menu through his creativity when preparing items such as homemade tomato sauce. Thanks to the serendipitous donation from a local farmer with a bumper crop of tomatoes, Chef Rocheleau roasted the tomatoes for hours to expand their natural flavors and healthy benefits of the phytochemicals. The sauce accompanied his vegetable lasagna. Another example of trending creations on his menu: African quesadillas incorporating sweet potatoes, goat cheese, greens, and black beans.

Chef Rocheleau earned a bachelor of science in foodservice entrepreneurship from JWU in 2001 and an MBA in Global Business Leadership in 2010. He credits his education, in part, for the foundation that has led to his successful foodservice career.

Watch the report on WPRI's website to see how Chef Rocheleau is changing the way Rhode Islander's eat. Another resource the chef recommends is Save the Food.