By: Dylan Donovan
My name is Dylan Donovan. I graduated from the Culinary Institute of Michigan with an A.A.S of Culinary Arts in 2014, and currently I’m finishing my junior year as a full-time Culinology® (B.S) student at Dominican University in River Forest, IL. In addition to being a student I work part-time as a Culinary Assistant at Ed Miniat LLC where I have been employed since February of 2015. The rumors that I was born in the dish room of my family’s catering business are not true, but I have spent the majority of my life in kitchens. I have experience as an employee in various areas of the food industry such as quick-service, casual, and fine-dining restaurants, as well as catering, hotels, test kitchens, and now in food manufacturing.
Ed Miniat produces sous-vide cooked meats for nationally recognized retail food brands and restaurant chains. Sous-vide, a French phrase that can be translated to “under-vaccum,” is a cooking technique that can create products that are nearly impossible to achieve with conventional cooking techniques. Among many attributes of the technique, sous-vide eliminates the guesswork of cooking, prolongs the shelf-life of products, and reduces the risk of cross contamination. The products that we create offer our customers consistent portion sizes and product quality.
As a Culinary Assistant at Ed Miniat I have opportunities to work on developing products for foodservice and retail customers, as well as for internal research. At Miniat I have had the chance to learn and experiment with numerous spice blends, reaction flavors, and various functional ingredients. One of the primary focuses of my position is developing gold-standard recipes on the benchtop that replicate the processes of our manufacturing facility. The culinary team frequently interacts internally with the sales and R&D teams to create effective products for our customers. I report to Chef John Draz, who is the Executive Research Chef at Ed Miniat and an RCA board member. Chef John has decades of experience in the food industry, which has made him a fantastic mentor to me in my transition into the manufacturing facet of the food industry.
In my time thus far with Miniat I feel that I have developed better business skills by working with customers and suppliers externally, and the sales and production teams internally. I also feel that I have gained technical knowledge about food science and manufacturing practices through collaboration with Miniat’s research and development department. The skills and knowledge that I have gained by working in the industry have bolstered my overall experience as a Culinology student. Day in and day out, working as a Culinary Assistant at Miniat is a fun and rewarding experience.