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Kraft Named 2019 Chef of the Year

July 10, 2019

Chartwells Higher Education’s Northeast Division honored Joel Kraft, executive chef of Fisher Dining Services, as its 2019 Chef of the Year.

Joel Kraft is the executive chef of Lackmann Culinary Services, Fisher’s food service company,

Kraft stood out among the 50 executive chefs in the division for his dedication to Chartwells’ “cook from scratch, menu by season, and source responsibly” philosophy. Fisher Dining Services operates under the umbrella of Chartwells Higher Education, a division of parent company, Compass. Kraft was recognized among his peers during the company’s Summer Summit, held in Chicago, Illinois in June.

Nelson Defigueiredo, president of the Northeast Division, noted that in Kraft’s more than 10 years as an executive chef, he has become known for his ability to lead and develop teams. “He has surrounded himself with chefs that share his skill level and passion. He is often called upon to support other units for special catering, program support, and to open accounts. Once he makes a presence at other accounts, they want him back for more,” he said.

Kraft is also one of the driving forces behind statewide and national accolades that Fisher has received, including No. 1 College Food in New York and Top 10 in the country by college search website,

“He has set himself apart as a highly skilled and passionate culinarian,” Defigueiredo said. “He is a humble individual, but his cuisine does all the bragging.”