Currently Featuring: Executive Chef Tim Foley
Vice President of Epicurean Club of Boston
Tim Foley started in the hospitality business at age 16 and after 42 years in this industry he says, “I still love it!” Tim’s passion for cooking began at the Boces Vocational Culinary High School program in Long Island, New York. He was fortunate to have been raised by a single mother who supported and encouraged his aspirations of becoming a Chef.
Tims first job was working in a steakhouse as a Dishwasher. He moved quickly into the position of hot and cold Prep Cook, then night shift Line Cook working the broiler and sauté station. He rapidly learned the value of timing and great food. Tim developed an expertise in creating chowders, Lobster Bisque, and fileting the fresh-caught fish of the day.
In 1984 Tim graduated from Johnson & Wales College, Providence Rhode Island, with a Culinary Arts Degree. He states, "He must thank the great Chefs he was educated by at Johnson & Wales. They continually encouraged and inspired me to strive for culinary excellence."
Tim has held many positions and titles in the culinary world. Chef Tournant at The Sea Fair Resort in Dania Beach Florida, Sous Chef at Bert and Jacks Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and The Diplomat Hotel in Miami Beach, Executive Sous Chef at the Doral Country Club, Miami Florida and The Palmer House, Chicago Illinois. Tim fine-tuned his expertise in running kitchens and banquets of all sizes. He studied Kosher Cooking under the Rabbi’s at the Palmer House and developed incredible ice carving skills at the Doral.
According to Tim, The Doral in the 1980s was the place to be. They were the host resort for The Doral Ryder Open, a Professional Golf tournament for elite golfers from around the world. He learned how to feed 15,000 people and Host the Sponsors Tents. One of the many highlights, for Tim at the Doral, was cooking for President George Bush Sr. He said it was an incredible experience to learn the protocols necessary for preparing meals for such a high-level dignitary. Tim's skills in managing and creating high-end foods did not go unnoticed. The Doral was an incredible learning experience that really launched Tim's professional career and after several years at the Doral, it was time to move on.
In Chicago IL, at The Palmer House Hilton, Tim was hired as the Executive Sous Chef. The Palmer House is known for its elegance in catering Kosher cuisine as well as five different restaurants. It was an exciting and professionally creative atmosphere to work in. In 1990 Hawaii was experiencing hotel strikes. Under Hiltons employment, Tim was sent to Hawaii to assist for 3 months. It was a difficult managerial situation that taught Tim invaluable lessons. He worked 6 days a week, 12 hours shifts, and prepared 1400 meals a day. Tim remembers learning how to cook bacon at 700 degrees for the Buffet.
After the Palmer House, Tim took a position at Olympia Fields Country Club, a private club in Chicago, IL, as the Executive Chef. His focus was weddings, golf outings, The Grille Restaurant, and a private dining room where he specialized in Tableside Cooking and great dishes. This was a slower-paced, repetitive menu that left very little creative liberties which Tim found professionally unstimulating. So, he continued his culinary journey.
Tim then took a position with Tyson Foods, Lady Aster manufacturer division as Executive Chef of Production. Tim thrived on challenging himself to continue learning various culinary cooking styles. His focus here was Volume Cooking. He found this position interesting and fun. Working with large kettles, making three-thousand-pound sauce batches, using 60-foot-long chain ovens, cranes and chillers to bring food down from 180 degrees to 38 degrees within an hour was a new experience for him. The most fascinating was plating 220,000 meals for airline catering a day. This was a great experience Tim was thankful for.
Tim continued his career at The Sheraton Towers, Chicago IL, as the Executive Chef of Restaurants. Tim truly enjoyed this company and position because of the staff and clients he worked with. The Sheraton Towers was the Host Hotel to the NBA. He met many famous actors, professional athletes, as well as Robert Mondavi of Mondavi Wines, to President Bill Clinton. Interesting fact, Tim was not able to leave the hotel during Presidential stays. He would work closely with White House staff for all Presidential meals. Tim stated it was an amazing experience, creating menus for 4 different restaurants and training 90 plus employees. He was in a position where job offers continually came in for him so, he continued to learn and grow through the many prospects he was offered.
An Executive Chef opening came from Bristol Hotels in Atlanta GA. This was an 8-hotel chain that would host the world for the 1996 Olympic Games. Tim's responsibilities included educating both front and back of the house, menu development, and execution of new menus as well as catering and restaurants. It was an exciting time to be in the hospitality industry. At this time his mother became terminally ill and missing his family up north, he knew it was time to move back home.
In 1997 he took a position as a Food Broker with Pilgrims of New England. The company was partially owned by Tom Hills Jr, Tim's college roommate and good friend. Tim continued to learn about clients, New England distribution, and Food Shows, which Tim felt was like catering on the road. Tim learned different aspects of the culinary world and enjoyed the comradery of the professionals he worked with. Tim said his position is different every day and loves that. He also said, "it’s a great feeling when you’ve helped other Chefs succeed by showing them new and different products ideas."
To learn more about the food industry and products, Tim took a position with Best Foods, which was later bought by Unilever. He continued to learn the ropes. He was then hired by Venture Foodservice, an up-and-coming New England broker. He represented top clients and worked with great people. The company was doing so well, it was bought by Acosta Foodservice. The company continued to grow Nationally; Tim was in the Foodservice division. His position was working with the Culinary and Non-Commercial businesses in New England. A west coast broker by the name of The Core Group entered the market. Tim was intrigued by a company starting fresh from the west to east coast market. They made him several offers, so he finally decided to join them. The Core group grew quickly starting from the ground up. Yes, it was hard, but they went from working out of a rental office to having a customized office built for them. It was amazing to be a part of. The good news is they merged with Acosta Foodservice to become Core Foodservice. Tim said, “It’s great to be back with old friends growing the business into the largest Foodservice Broker company nationally.”
Tim and his wife Patti after 23 years remain happily married today. They planted their family roots in Massachusetts and have raised 2 incredible young adults. Tim enjoys coaching Lacrosse, Baseball and supporting any activity his family participates in. Tims most exceptional characteristic is his volunteerism. He is always the first to offer a helping hand to anyone in need. Tim has organized and participated in the hospitality suite for Judges at multiple figure skating events, built gingerbread houses with the patients at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, Open Kitchen Dinners in Natick for those in need, Natick Lacrosse Auctions, and most recently founded the Connor Heffler Golf Classic to Benefit Cops for Kids with Cancer organization. Tim is currently, the Vice President of the Epicurean Club of Boston, the oldest Chef’s Club in the country.
Tim's infectious, friendly personality and energy have made him the success he is today. He credits his love of learning food and people with his achievements. His final note is to love what you do, be passionate, don’t be afraid to talk to people, mentor up incoming culinarians, remember to stay positive and keep learning.