Welcome to “Food for Thought,” an exploration into the world of psychology, food and education. I am an educator, psychotherapist, and executive chef. Interesting career path one might say? Let’s examine the journey.
It started in a little mountain town in the west where my grandmother cooked in my high school. I volunteered to wash dishes in the school cafeteria. I received free food, got out of class early, and go to visit grandma. I loved this job!
I found a job as a dishwasher in a local restaurant. I quickly worked my way up to cook then sous chef. The Executive chef was trained to cook from his grandmother and offered great skills. He taught me the fundamentals of culinary arts, which whetted my appetite to learn more.
I joined the Air Force and cooked, worked on missiles, performed search and recovery duties, and managed a dormitory. I also earned my Bachelor’s Degree in psychology at Black Hills State University.
My wife, Michele and I had a daughter, Heather. After eleven years in the Air Force, it was time to move on. With family in Missoula, we visited Coeur d’Alene many times and decided this will be our home.
Coeur d’Alene was the start of my wife and my professional careers. I immediately got a job as caddie at the Coeur d’Alene Resort and as the sous chef at Cricket’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar.
Working 15 hours a day became a struggle, and I applied and was hired as the Food Service Director and Executive Chef at North Idaho College (NIC) food service department.
At NIC I created the food court-branding concepts, helped design the food court, recreated the catering department, wrote all menus and recipes and managed 71 students and staff. I also attended the Culinary Institute of America while at NIC which nurtured my foundation in the culinary arts.
NIC is a wonderful place to work and I enjoyed my seven years in the food service department. While directing food service, I taught etiquette classes, food service supervisor classes and numerous cooking classes.
I attended the University of Idaho and received my Master’s Degree in Counseling and Human Services. I opened Selkirk Counseling Group with four other counselors and was hired by the Coeur d’Alene school district as a counselor at Project CDA (Creating Dropout Alternatives). I also started teaching psychology classes for NIC. During this journey I received my Educational Leadership Degree and am a certified kindergarten-12 grade principal.
Presently I am the counselor at Atlas Elementary School; still teach psychology at NIC and own Rutherford Education Group where I lecture and do psychotherapy.
What will you find in this column? Articles will focus on food, education and psychology and many will meld the three.
In the coming month expect to explore vitamin D deficiency and Seasonal Affective Disorder, the love hate relationship Americans have with food, what foods stimulate mental wellness, the psychology of bulimia, anorexia, and obesity, how to effectively discipline children, why marriages succeed and fail, and the effects of a mental illness label. Please e-mail me with column ideas or thoughts.
Bill Rutherford is a psychotherapist, public speaker, elementary school counselor, adjunct college psychology instructor and executive chef, and owner of Rutherford Education Group. Please e-mail him at email@example.com