Henrico’s Top Teachers – Winslow Goodier

Although Winslow Goodier spent years as a chef, and excelled at it, he seems to have found his true calling in his second career: sharing those culinary gifts with young chefs-to-be.

A former executive chef at The Tobacco Company in Richmond, he also served as a chef at Hermitage Country Club, Henrico Doctors’ Hospital and The Chamberlin Hotel in Hampton – in addition to being a team chef with NASCAR. Named among the top 10 chefs in Richmond in 1999, he won Chef of the Year awards from the Virginia Chefs Association in 1995 and 1999.

But in the summer of 2000, he switched gears – from running a kitchen and supervising a staff to imparting his knowledge to students in the Hermitage Tech Culinary Arts program.

“I had some great chef instructors in culinary school, as well as some chef mentors early in my career,” he explained, noting that he is still in touch with several of the mentors and teachers who influenced him.

“I wanted to have that relationship with the next generation of young culinarians.”

Certified by the American Culinary Federation, Hermitage’s program – implemented by Goodier – is one of only three such accredited programs in the Commonwealth. The students not only learn culinary skills in the classroom but also practice them in the real world, catering events for Henrico County Public Schools, county government and business groups. During a recent presidential election, the secretary of the State Board of Elections asked the students to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner for 100 people on Election Day.

In his decade and a half of teaching, Goodier has gone on to become a three-time finalist and a winner of the REB Awards for Teaching Excellence. In 2004, he won the Davenport Award (Vocational Teacher of the Year) for Henrico County Public Schools, and in 2009 he was awarded the prestigious ACF Presidential Medallion. His television credits include appearances on the Food Network, Discovery Channel, ESPN and TBS; he also hosted a local cable cooking show, “Virginia Flavors,” which won a 2002 Telly Award.  

And yet – TV fame and prestigious honors notwithstanding – Goodier suggests that his students provide satisfaction in a way no awards or medals can.

Not surprisingly, many of his proteges go on to four-year culinary schools and have become chefs, or are working towards that goal.

“It is very rewarding for them to keep in contact with me,” he said, “to tell me about their progress or what they are currently doing. But I think the most rewarding thing is [hearing from] the students who go on to do something else, or the ones that may have been . . . difficult.”

When such students tell Goodier that the experience in his class helped them, it can be even more meaningful, he said.

“You always wonder, and it’s really nice to know that you’ve had a positive influence on their lives.”

Of course, even in a classroom that is predominantly a kitchen, there are the usual classroom challenges to endure. Keeping students on task, Goodier said, is the hardest part of his job.

“There are so many distractions now – cell phones, social media – that it has become increasingly challenging to keep the students focused.”

But being able to share his skills and passion for the culinary arts with students, and watching them grow and succeed – whether they are aspiring chefs or not – makes the challenges worthwhile.

What’s more, he added, there’s another gratifying aspect to teaching at Hermitage: seeing the program grow and develop.

“I’m glad to see that career and technical education is getting more attention,” he said. “We can see first-hand that the real-world skills we teach the students can make them very successful.

“Before I started teaching, my perception of tech centers was what they were like when I went through high school. It’s a completely different environment now – and it’s very rewarding to be part of it.”
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Henrico Business Bulletin Board

May 2017

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Henrico's Top Teachers

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