Chef Bob PerryChef Bob Perry has been with the School of Human Environmental Sciences for the past 10 years. He is the Chef & Foods Lab Coordinator in the Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition. In his current position, he is perhaps best known as the mastermind behind The Lemon Tree, a student run restaurant in Erikson Hall. Chef Bob teaches students about the food enterprise, connects the University with Kentucky entrepreneurs, farmers, and chefs, and brings his years of expertise to researching for his Farm to College efforts.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I am a native to Kentucky. As a young boy in Boy Scouts, I began cooking at the age of 8, and I have enjoyed it ever since. Today I am proud to say that for the last 35 years I have been a chef .Throughout the past few decades, I have worked in some unique establishments. I have been a chef on private yachts in the Caribbean, My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, the Belle of Louisville, and various other restaurants including my own French Provencal Bistro "The Farmers Hall".

You have been co-teaching Quantity Food Production, commonly known as The Lemon Tree course, for 10 years now. What is one of your favorite experiences in this teaching role?

I have had so many great experiences, so it is hard to just pick one. I love watching students realize that you can make everything from scratch. Before taking DHN 342-Quantity Food Production, many students do not realize that you do not have to purchase everything, but instead can make it yourself. One of the lessons that I enjoy, and that always amazes students, is when we make ketchup from scratch at the end of each semester.

What do you enjoy most about starting a semester with a new group of students?

Each semester I get a new group, which means that I get the chance to know them and their unique backgrounds. We have such a diverse student body, and because of that, I enjoy getting to see how their individual backgrounds will accentuate their learning experiences.

What is the biggest challenge each semester?

I would say that the biggest challenge is instilling a sense of urgency within the students in regard to preparing and serving the meal at noon. We have only 2 ½ hours to prepare a 3-course meal from scratch. Teaching my class time management is essential.

What is your all-time favorite dish from The Lemon Tree menu?

I would have to say my favorite is the fresh herb crusted salmon with tomato basil cream sauce.

What is one piece of advice you usually give your students?

My students are dietetics or hospitality management tourism majors, so they will all be working with people or within an organization that provides a service. Knowing this, along with my career experiences, I always tell my students to treat everyone with respect. Whether it is a co-worker, employee, or a client, respect goes a long way.

Chef Bob teaching

Author: Michaela Mineer
Terms: DHN