CWU News

CWU Campus Sous Chef Named A Rising Star by National Publication

Central Washington University’s Jack Mazzacavallo has once again attracted the attention of national food industry professionals, being named a Rising Star for 2020 by FoodService Director magazine.

The campus sous chef, who joined the CWU Dining Services team last summer, also was recognized as a Chef to Watch by Food Management and was invited to compete at the National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) Culinary Challenge earlier this year. As Mazzacavallo keeps adding new accomplishments to his resume, the university continues to benefit.

“Jack provides a clear and calm leadership style, which supports elevation of our culinary program and strong leadership for the culinary team members that he leads,” said Director of CWU Dining Services Dean Masuccio. “His culinary knowledge and technical skills, along with his humble leadership style, are noteworthy and deserving of the nomination.”

CWU Campus Executive Chef Joe Ritchie has been equally impressed by Mazzacavallo’s expertise since he arrived in August 2019. 

“In the 12 months Jack has been here, it’s been amazing to watch him branch out beyond his normal scope and contribute in so many other areas of the operation,” he said. 

Before the award selections were made, the finalists were interviewed by FoodService Director magazine. When asked about his inspiration for cooking, Mazzacavallo credited influences from his Italian heritage blended with his formal training in French cuisine. 

“My family is Italian, which tends to be a lot more ingredient-focused,” he said, “and most of my training is in French cuisine, which is a lot more technique-focused.” 

Mazzacavallo is currently involved in several large projects for CWU Dining Services, including a restructuring of the catering division, the creation of a formal recipe-development program, and solidifying a system for produce intake and storage from the Wildcat Neighborhood Farm. He believes his experience in smaller, independent kitchens has been a natural fit at CWU. 

“I’m a little bit more casual and I kind of figure it out as I go along, rather than necessarily having a set plan and procedure for everything that I do,” said Mazzacavallo, who also was recognized as one of Seattle’s Hot New Chefs by Seattle Met in 2018. “It allows me to come to the table with some fresh ideas.”

Read more about Mazzacavallo’s latest accolade in the July/August issue of FoodService Director.

Media contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs;, 509-963-1518.