Staff Spotlight: Chef Kiril Gallovitch

Chef Kiril Gallovitch is one of the new faces in Miami University’s dining services this year, stepping in as Miami’s corporate executive chef. Gallovitch, a native of Bulgaria with classical European culinary training, is tasked with overseeing the culinary side of dining operations, including the development of recipes, menus and more.

“My goal is to make the operation better because every dining operation around the world can reach the next level,” said Gallovitch. “My job is to motivate [dining staff] and provide clear goals for them to continually better themselves in what they’re doing.”

Gallovitch knew since he was a child that he wanted to be a chef, and with nearly 30 years of professional experience under his apron, he has accumulated an impressive background.

Following culinary school and hotel restaurant management college, Gallovitch worked as a chef tournant in Europe before moving to Las Vegas to work at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino, predominantly doing banquets. Since then, he has worked as an executive chef at an upscale steakhouse, was a district chef at the University of Cincinnati for 10 years and, most recently, worked as a regional chef for a company called Legends, which is responsible for hospitality services at places like Yankee Stadium (New York Yankees), AT&T Stadium (Dallas Cowboys) and other locations across the country.

The college dining scene, particularly Miami’s, is familiar to Gallovitch following his time with the University of Cincinnati where he paid close attention to Miami’s dining services.

“There are a lot of things that are different between Miami University and the University of Cincinnati, but there are still a lot of similarities,” said Gallovitch. “I’m used to dealing with students and parents, with making sure everything is in place and that everybody has a goal to reach.”

Gallovitch has settled in at Miami quickly. He enjoys being back on a university campus and has enjoyed familiarizing himself with Miami’s dining services.

“I like the fact that there are a lot of things established,” said Gallovitch. “We have a department here that deals with nutrition, with the special allergies and everybody in this department is focused and does their job very well. It’s very neat, in one operation, for everything to be so organized. It’s a very high-level program.”

Gallovitch can be found at different dining locations helping when necessary, sharing his expertise with dining staff or interacting with guests. Getting out on campus and participating in the front-line service is something he considers to be an essential part of his job.

“I don’t like being a paper chef,” said Gallovitch. “I have to stay in the office sometimes to do paperwork, but the interaction with the customers, the employees and the chefs whom I work with is very important. I prefer to be hands-on and to show things, rather than just provide a recipe or ask somebody to do something. I don’t mind teaching it. I don’t mind working in the kitchen. Whoever needs my help, by now, I think they know they can count on me.”

In his free time, Gallovitch reads a lot of cookbooks and magazines to keep up with culinary trends. He is always investigating new recipes and enjoys dining at places with interesting food as a way to conduct research.

Gallovitch finds the culinary aspect of his job the most compelling, together with the opportunity to engage with different people.

“I enjoy the interaction with people and making sure that I listen well to their needs and their expectations,” said Gallovitch. “I want to make sure that everything we serve is on a level that most people don’t expect when they come to dining locations. Expectations are very high for university dining and we have to make sure that we uphold these expectations.”

The Hard Questions

What’s one thing you want people to know about you?

I want them to know that I am very approachable. They can come to me if there’s a problem because in order for us to fix anything, we have to know the problem. Somebody has to bring it up if there is something we don’t see or we’re working on, but it’s not accomplished yet.

Favorite dish to prepare? To eat?

Prepare – Well, there are too many. I don’t know, but I like paella, a Spanish paella. Oh, what else. I also like authentic Chinese cuisine, especially Sichuan, so there’s several dishes I like to cook.

Eat – Again, it probably has to be paella. Or spicy boiled fish fillets, which is a Sichuan dish. What else? I like seafood. I’m a very adventurous eater, so it’s a very difficult question for me to answer because I like a lot of things, I’ve tried a lot of things and there’s almost nothing I will not try, at least. I think people make a huge mistake if they say, “Well, I’m not going to try this or that.” How would you know if you’re going to like it or not? Even if it’s something that in the past you haven’t liked, or you didn’t like, but it’s prepared in a different way, there’s a chance you will like it.

Cat or dog? Both, although my job – with the long hours I work – it’s almost impossible to have a dog, so I do have a cat currently, but I’ve had dogs in the past.

Cake or pie? I would take cake, but it all depends.

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