Tuesday Talks: Chef Joe Askren, Hospitality

Each Tuesday, we sit down with members of the faculty to discuss their expertise, recent research and some of their accomplishments.  This week, USFSM takes a closer look at Chef Joe Askren.

Joe Askren is an instructor at the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership at the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee campus. Joe was a former Chef Instructor at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts from 2007-2012. While teaching at Le Cordon Bleu, he was voted Teacher of the Year twice in 2008 & 2011 by the school’s graduates. Chef Askren received his BSBA from the University of Florida and an MBA in Hospitality Management from Colorado Technical University. He is also a culinary graduate of Florida State College in Jacksonville, Florida.

His culinary and management experience has taken place in some of the finest hotels and restaurants in the United States. He started his professional career at one of the finest country clubs in the southeast. At Ponte Vedra Inn & Club he worked under Chef Donald Pleau. After graduating from culinary school in Jacksonville he moved out west to work for Chef Anton Brunbauer at the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa in Scottsdale Arizona.

Under Chef Askren, the Golden Swan at the Hyatt Regency was awarded a 4-Star rating by Mobil Travel Guide, named one of the “Top Nine Restaurants in Phoenix/Scottsdale” by Gourmet magazine and listed as one of the “Top Five Restaurants in America’s Southwest” by Condé Nast Traveler.

Chef Askren then became the Executive Chef at the Radisson Woodlands Hotel & Resort in Flagstaff. Here he ran one of the largest banquet facilities in Northern Arizona along with two successful restaurants; most notably, Sakura Restaurant, a James Beard Award winning teppanyaki/sushi bar.

Chef Askren then moved back to Scottsdale to work for Chef Anton Brunbauer again at the newly built AAA Four Diamond Westin Kierland Resort & Spa. Chef Askren was in charge of three outlets on property. Brittlebush Bar & Grill, for example, featured innovative, contemporary cuisine, and in 2006 was named one of the top lunch spots in Arizona by Arizona Life magazine.

In 2011, Chef Askren was the culinary creator of the Good Life Cuisine brand that has been instituted in BlueStar Resort & Golf properties in Washington, California, and Arizona. Good Life Cuisine concentrates on healthy, sustainable, and responsibly sourced ingredients. Joe is also a recent contributor to Dr. John Walker’s upcoming text: The Restaurant: from Concept to Operation 6th Ed, John Wiley & Sons. (2013).

A member of the American Culinary Federation, he is a Certified Executive Chef as well as a Certified Chef Educator.