Chef Profile - Jim Gelzheiser (Rivers Club)
Name: Jim Gelzheiser
Residing Club: Rivers Club in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Background and Career Highlights: Jim graduated from the Pittsburgh Chefs and Cooks Association Culinary Apprenticeship Program and worked as a banquet chef and executive sous chef for nine years at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa. He assisted Executive Chef Todd Rogers at a James Beard Dinner in New York City and won first place in an ice-carving contest. He's received the ClubCorp Superstar award and this November marks his 15-year anniversary with the company.
Other than your chef knife, what is your favorite kitchen tool?: "A truffle slicer"
What had the greatest influence on your culinary career?: "Working under excellent chefs and learning from great culinary instructors during my apprenticeship. Additionally, participating in a Dale Carnegie leadership course opened my eyes to the importance of having great people skills."
What is your single favorite ingredient to cook with?: "Fresh ginger. I love the aroma, and it’s not over-used so I am always excited when I need it."
What is something about you few people know?: "My wife Shelli and I just celebrated our 25-year wedding anniversary."
What is one thing that can always be found in your home refrigerator?: "Mirepoix made with celery, carrot and onion."
If you could cook dinner for anyone, past, present or future, who would it be?: "My grandparents. Nothing would be better than having the opportunity to prepare a dinner for them at Rivers Club."
What is your Walter Mitty fantasy?: "Being a drummer for “The Black Keys”"
What character traits/qualifications/skills makes a good chef?: "A relentless pursuit of excellence, a tremendous work ethic and a great sense of taste. Also, the ability to play well with others, have fun, listen, learn and apply techniques."
What do you like most about working at the Club?: "Trying to live up to the reputation of the Rivers Club kitchen. The fact that everyday, I’m able to work in the same kitchen where great Pittsburgh Chefs practiced for the Culinary Olympics in the 1980s, provides a tremendous sense of pride for me."
What do you see as the next big trend in food?: "Global-infused comfort food."