Resort Food Executive Committee
White House Chef

Jon Hill, M.Ed., C.E.C.

Faculty Member
Estrella Mountain Community College

About Jon Hill:

Chef Hill joined Estrella Mountain Community College Faculty to develop the culinary arts program in the summer of 2002. He is retired from nearly two decades as a Chef with Westin Hotels and Resorts Inc.

Chef Hill is also the former White House Executive Chef for President Ronald Reagan.

Before joining EMCC, he was the Executive Chef of the Wigwam Resort from 1992 to 2002. He holds a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.Ed.) from Grand Canyon University, a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from University of Phoenix, and an Associate of Science Degree from The University of Hawaii in Food Service.

Jon is a graduate of the 4 year culinary apprenticeship program at The Greenbrier Hotel Culinary Academy. He participated in the James Beard "Great Resort Chefs 2000 Series" in New York City.

Jon is recipient of the Escoffier Gold Medal in pulled sugar from The New York Food Salon competition. Chef Hill is a Certified Executive Chef with the American Culinary Federation and a Certified Food and Beverage Executive with the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute.

Of Historical Interest

RFEC Founders On Chef Hill's Appointment To White House Chef

Source: The Washington Post, Story By Phyllis C. Richman, August 20,1987

The White House kitchen is going American. While the word is not out yet officially, Spokane, Wash.-born Jon Hill is reported to have been chosen as the next executive chef of the White House, pending Secret Service approval.

The current chef, Swiss-born Henry Haller, who was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson, has announced his retirement, effective Oct. 1. Haller plans to publicize his book, "The White House Family Cookbook," and consult with food and beverage companies, including Cointreau and Grand Union supermarkets.

The two-month search has apparently culminated with Hill, currently executive chef of the Westin Cypress Creek in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. After graduating from the Greenbrier Culinary Apprentice Program in West Virginia about 10 years ago, he was sous-chef at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in Hawaii for about five years, then worked at the Arizona Biltmore, another Westin Hotel, before he left to open the Westin Cypress Creek.

"He was the best of the 18 graduates his year," said Herman Rusch, the Greenbrier apprentice program's founder and Hill's teacher. "He was one of the best students I had. He is very well educated, a very sincere chef." Rusch described Hill as exacting, and recalled that as a student Hill had specialized in sauces and cold exhibits.

Other chefs have described Hill similarly, as especially pleasant and very bright -- "an exciting young man." As one chef, who preferred to remain anonymous, said of Hill, "There's something about him -- if you met him you would understand." Kim Dietrich, who was executive chef of Mauna Kea Beach Hotel during Hill's years there, portrayed Hill as interested in everything, a perfectionist and an all-round chef, extraordinarily skilled in decorative work.

"He is extremely loyal; goes not only the extra mile but maybe the extra 10 miles. He never watches the clock, and never goes stale," said Dietrich, who summed up Hill as "a very enthusiastic young professional culinarian" who is "sort of tailor-made for a job like that."

At Westin Hotel headquarters in Seattle, food and beverage programs administrator Jen Campbell also waxed enthusiastic about Hill. "He's a wonderful person, gregarious, carefree, very relaxed," she said. "He's just delightful."

Hill himself, reached yesterday in the kitchen of the Westin Cypress Creek, was not gregarious, carefree and relaxed when asked about his reported new post. "I'll just refer you to the {White House} usher's office," he said when asked his age. (Others have estimated that Hill is between 28 and 35.)

The White House was equally taciturn. Wendy Weber of the East Wing press office said only, "We will put out an announcement when it is to be announced."

Several chefs who had heard the rumor of Hill's appointment expressed strong approval of Hill and particular pleasure in the hiring of an American chef, the first since before the Kennedy administration.

"I thought it was a fantastic choice to have an American again," said Albert Schnarwyler, chef of the Homestead, a resort near the Greenbrier, and another admirer of Hill. Dietrich, too, stressed that the choice of an American chef for the White House is "exciting for our profession.


Estrella Mountain Community College

EMCC offers an Associate in Applied Sciences (A.A.S.) degree program in Culinary Studies as well as a Baking and Pastry Certificate. Students are provided with a broad expanse of culinary arts that includes culinary theory and hospitality courses, as well as over 500 hours of lab work in our fully equipped, hands-on kitchen. Students are required to purchase knives and uniforms for these programs.

In addition to courses in restaurant management, food cost systems and sanitation, students will gain hands-on experience in a variety of lab-based courses. The majority of the lab production is served in our on-campus restaurant, Regions. Students will be exposed to American and International Cuisine, baking and pastry arts, as well as catering and banquets.

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Estrella Mountain Community College