Staff Spotlight: Scott Rouse

“Have a little bit of adventure every day. It keeps life interesting.” Executive Chef Scott Rouse is a man with many hobbies and extracurricular activities, all of which keep his life interesting outside his extensive involvement here with Miami University Dining. Whether it be driving a hearse (he loves when you take selfies with it), scuba diving, or scaring people at Halloween Haunt for 11 years, he’s way more than a chef.

Scott is currently the executive chef for Garden Commons, Martin Dining Hall, Dividends, Middletown campus, and the Hamilton campus. He has been in the dining culture of Miami for 6 years, but has been a chef for 30 years. He has worked in every aspect of food service other than a hospital! He is heavily involved in staying busy and loves to have a good time doing it. We thought we would sit him down to learn even more about him.

Q: What is your background, both personal and professional?

A: I grew up in Liberty Township, Ohio, so I’m a local boy. Junior and senior year I went to vocational school at Butler Tech-D Russel Lee. I worked in the field for a year, then I went to New England Culinary Institute in Vermont for two years. I’ve worked at hotels (including Netherland Plaza), The Regal Cincinnati, fine dining, NKU,and also a retirement community. Outside of work, I do volunteer work two nights a week as a facilitator for Smart Recovery, which is a 12 step alternative that meets here in Oxford every week.


Q: What is the most exciting part about your job?

A: You know, sometimes these guys (students) are just having a bad day and they just want something hot in their stomach, they want to relax or chill out, or they might have had a bad test. When they come in, we get them on the right path again. That’s the most exciting part for me.


Q: What is your favorite part about Miami University Dining?

A: Diversity. As far as some of the other food operations I’ve seen before, I think we have a lot going on— it’s really cool. In my 6 years on campus, we’ve seen a huge shift in the dining halls. With all these new concepts like Garden and Maplestreet Commons, the cost of a swipe gives you multiple food concepts. The big push is because of the students. The students are well-traveled and know different food concepts and know what good food is, so that’s what they expect and we give them just that. It’s been exciting to see parents when they walk in and say “Wow this wasn’t like this when I was in college.”


Q: How would you describe your personality?

A: Quiet and shy… No, not at all! I can’t even say that with a straight face! I like to have a good time and that’s what it’s about. Your day is what you make it and if you’re having fun when you’re working, you’re going to give 100%. No one wants to go some place and be absolutely miserable. That makes your whole life miserable. There’s going to be times when you spend more time with coworkers than family, so you might as well have some laughs along the way.


Q: What are some of your hobbies? Interests?

A: I have more hobbies than I have hours in the day. I ride motorcycles, I drive a hearse that people take selfies with all the time outside, I’m a scuba diver and a certified rescue diver and I’m working on my divemaster certification. I am never bored! You know it’s true, idleness is the devil’s workshop, and let me tell you I’m a pretty good carpenter.


Q: What is one of your favorite dishes to prepare?

A: I can’t say I have a favorite dish but I have a favorite style. I’d say my favorite style would be creole. I love creole cuisine because it’s very American. You’re taking influences of French, Spanish, and African and you’re blending that just like America – it’s a big melting pot.


Q: What is your favorite dish to eat?

A: Anything that doesn’t eat me first. But really, my favorite meal is anything I don’t have to cook. It’s funny because people find out what I do for a living and they ask my wife “Oh, you must get some great meals.” She is like, “Yeah, but he doesn’t like to cook when he gets home.” Then they look at me like I’m a lazy bum. Woah, hold up! What do you do for a living? Do you want to do that when you go home? Because I don’t either!


Q: Cat or Dog?

A: Yes! We have a cat, a dog, and three fish. At one point we’ve had five dogs, two cats, a handful of fish in a water garden I built outside, and I even owned a pot bellied pig. Animals over kids! There’s some things even I won’t do.


Q: Any advice for people applying/working for Miami University Dining?

A: I think working in dining is a great experience, especially students that are potentially looking for their first job. That’s something here at Miami that I think is very interesting, is that we do have students who come that have never worked before. This is a really good experience for them to transition into the work world. The shifts are quite different than the real world, but it gives you a different perspective on things. For example, guest interactions. Everyone knows how they want to be treated, but now you’re on the other foot and now you get the opportunity to take care of somebody else. You learn time management, cleanliness, and so many interpersonal skills. It is a great transition into the real world.


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