National Chef Appreciation Day is Wednesday, September 25th. In honor of this year’s Chef Appreciation Day, we are honoring Chef Robert (Robbie) Joynt! Chef Robbie knew he wanted to be a chef since the early age of three when he made cheese & cracker hors de oeuvres for his mother’s Tupperware parties. When Chef Robbie was 14, he began working at his best friend’s pizza parlor and French bistro café.
Upon finishing culinary school at the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale in 1996, he moved to Tallahassee, Florida to attend Florida State University’s (FSU) School of Business. As a student at FSU, he worked at several locations including, University Center Club & Kool Beanz Café. In 2006, after winning first place in Tallahassee’s ACF culinary competition, Chef Robbie opened his first restaurant. Fusion Café was an instant success providing fresh local farm to table ingredients. Within a year, Fusion Cafe won several awards including first place for the 2007 Tallahassee Chef Sampler and voted best restaurant by the Tallahassee Magazine.
In 2009, Chef Robbie sold his share of the business and started working in the health care segment of the food service industry. “The goal back then”, Chef Joynt states, “was to change the bad perception people have of the food they are served in hospitals. If a chef can do that, he can do anything.” From 2010 to 2016, Chef Robbie traveled the United States visiting health care food service accounts and assisting the dietary departments achieve that goal. In 2016, Chef Robbie decided to leave the health care sector of food service to start working in higher education as the Director of Operations for the dining halls at FSU.
After his time at FSU, Chef Robbie began working for Metz Culinary Management as the Executive Chef for Florida A&M University in January 2019. He has been here at Florida A&M University (FAMU) since. During his short time at FAMU, Chef Robbie has added the following to our dining services program: specialty themes to lunch and dinner menus as well as demonstrating cooking demos to students during Earth Week and Healthy Campus Week. Chef Robbie and his extended experience has been very beneficial to FAMU and his willingness to incorporate cooking demos for the students has helped build a community between students and the culinary staff. We are excited to see what the future has in store!