A chef working in the kitchen of Cabrini College was born in Japan, has a brother who was born in Portugal and four other siblings who were born in different states or countries. Chef Rodney, Cabrini College Executive Chef, grew up all around the world.
“My father was a colonel in the air force,” Rodney said. “Being an officer’s son allowed me to grow up with an entirely different perspective than others.”
The United States military has troops stationed in over 150 countries throughout the world. With over 1 million troops, the U.S has the largest defense budget. Even with millions supporting our troops, the military still seems to get a bad reputation particularly in this day and age.
“I try to stay in tune with what is going on now with the men and women in the military, Rodney said. “It is sad the military gets such a bad rep at times.”
But for Rodney, the military is what molded his life. “Growing up in that atmosphere you are introduced to so many different people, cultures, food and music. It was irreplaceable.”
Numerous children who grow up in a military family become accustomed to moving around. Many join the military themselves like Rodney’s brother, but for Rodney that was only an option.
“I thought about joining but chose a different route,” Rodney said. “My father told me that the officer side of the fence may seem cool and quite glamorous but if you are not ready to kill and break things then don’t go in, because that is what the military does, when it needs to.”
Chef Rodney went to James Madison University where he majored in political science as he got an athletic scholarship for football, but his first education was taught to him by his father.
“I carried myself in a certain manner,” Rodney said. “He taught me discipline.”
Rodney’s view on life seems to differ from those who grew up in a hometown.
“I may not of had a hometown,” Rodney said. “But my advantage is that I get to say, ‘I get it’ because I have been to so many places and have seen so many things.”
The experience has exposed and allowed Rodney to be open minded when it comes to the world, “I have seen great food all around the world and I have seen hunger,” Rodney said. “It is funny though, the one thing we all have in common is just that, food.”
In hindsight, the traveling, football playing, political science major and now Executive Chef is shaped the way he is today by growing up in a atmosphere that opened his horizons in not only food but in all aspects of the world.