Date of Birth: April 24, 1931
Place of Birth: Germany
Died: November 28, 2012
Joined RFEC: 1975 - Founder
RFEC Medallion Number: 2
With the 2012 passing of Chef Kim Dietrich, Founder of the Resort Food Executives Committee (RFEC), chefs from around the country have shared their memories and thoughts on his influence on the resort culinary industry.
Although the 1974 meeting of five was the first official RFEC event, Kim Dietrich's vision for bringing together talented culinarians from the most prestigious resorts began years before. He pursued the idea and was able to bring that first meeting to fruition through his dedication and persistence. His original vision grew over the decades. He saw the meeting move from a handful of participants to the strong network of chefs it is today. That the RFEC is now the leading association of resort culinary professionals is a fitting legacy for Chef Dietrich.
After I moved to the Arizona Biltmore, Herman Rusch, Kim Dietrich and I formed the RFEC, writes Henry Warren. Kim was instrumental in bringing other resort properties into our organization which helped it grow into the current fantastic organization it has become. Kim will always remain in my heart with thanks and admiration.Henry Warren | RFEC Original Member
Beat Giger of Pebble Beach remembers Kim as a great chef, mentor and true professional. I am thankful for Kim's guidance and leadership and will always remember him with highest respect. He will be in my heart forever.Beat Giger | Pebble Beach Resorts
Kim gave me this leadership advice. "Strong leadership is hard to find and harder to keep, mostly because today's leaders are praised for their forward thinking and ability to evolve a company or cause. True leadership also values its beginning, learns from experience and never forgets the past while mentoring the future."Brent Wertz | RFEC Past President
I looked up to him and listened to his advice. Good men are meant to be missed, Kim Dietrich will be missed.Rhys Lewis | Colonial Williamsburg Resorts
I remember my first RFEC meeting - I was taken by the humble greeting and surprised at the camaraderie and genuine friendly environment of all these talented Chefs in what could have been a huge ego clash of the titans. Kim represented and stood for the character of the chef and a true professional of an RFEC chef.Todd Rogers | St. Joe Club and Resorts
I remember Kim as a "gentle giant" in the industry, always the gentleman yet always taking the time to help a fellow culinarian or to just enjoy a simple conversation.Chance Ashman-Galliker | RFEC Administrator
I apprenticed with Chef Dietrich at the Mauna Kea and worked with him directly for over five years. I learned Chef Dietrich's dedication to high standards in his kitchen where the staff portrayed a professional demeanor and the kitchen was calm and organized. My career has taken me to many resorts, as well as the White House, thanks to the valuable guidance of Dietrich in my early career. I may be the first RFEC apprentice chef that later led a five star resort.
Chef Dietrich was also known for his love of animals and his desire to protect them. He was a friend to all animals hungry and in need.Jon Hill, C.E.C. | Faculty - Estrella Mountain Community College
Chef Dietrich shaped my career personally and professionally by hiring me for my first position here in the United States. He gave me the chance of a lifetime. I remember Chef Dietrich's high standards for his kitchens but also learned the importance of a commitment to your professional life... but also to strong family values.Hans J. Schadler, C.E.C., A.A.C. | RFEC Chairman Emeritus
Henry Warren remembers Kim's dedicated efforts to employ natives in the resort areas. Hans Schadler stated that Kim had an aptitude for seeing the potential in native employees, mentoring them, and helping place them in apprentice programs to further their culinary careers.Henry Warren & Hans J. Schadler
When the RFEC was in Caneel Bay I remember a local employee approached Kim, even though he had not seen each other for years, and the affection the two had for each other was clear despite the years that had passed.Rhys Lewis | Colonial Williamsburg Resorts
I remember Kim taking him, a "mainland" boy, under his wing. I was a high school runt when Kim was executive chef here at Mauna Lea when my career as a chef wasn't even on the horizon. I found lots in Kim to admire and emulate and now I'm the Executive Chef of the Mauna Kea.Peter Pahk | Past RFEC President
I remember the advice I received as a young chef that, if I got into trouble to call a chef by the name of Kim Dietrich who would be able to help. When he had need of Kim's counsel, Chef Dietrich bought me a plane ticket and spent the following four days teaching me food cost and menu design from the basics. His help didn't stop there though, for the entire next season he wanted to see and help me with all of my menus.Joe Santangini | Former RFEC Member
Although proud of his German heritage, Kim was proud to be an American citizen. I recall kitchens where the staff was largely European but Kim required that the culinary staff speak English regardless of their native language.Hans J. Schadler, C.E.C., A.A.C. | RFEC Chairman Emeritus
I remember Chef Dietrich saying, "You can become anything you set your goals to here in The United States of America, the land of opportunity" and he was proud to raise his sons as Americans.Jon Hill, C.E.C. | Faculty - Estrella Mountain Community College
Of the remembrances shared, Chef Dietrich's high standards resonate throughout. Known as a great listener, he always made time for those who needed his ear. He treated all with respect from the most valuable customers to the humblest on his staff.
Chef Kim Dietrich's support of education and higher learning is evident in the many careers he helped to shape, so many of those careers represented by the contributors here.
In loving memory,
If you have information or photos of Kim Dietrich please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.