McElmoyl also stresses common sense decision making and problem solving at all times. “You can’t always predict what’s going to come up in the kitchen and you need to have creative solutions,” he says.
As he prepares for his third year in the Trenton campus kitchen, McElmoyl says teaching at Mercer has proven very satisfying. “I really want to help people in the Trenton community learn practical culinary skills that will be enable them to have a productive livelihood in the foodservice industry.”
McElmoyl notes that he also works to give his students a sense of confidence. “I want them to be able to walk into any kitchen and feel self-assured and not be intimidated. People don't always realize how much they've learned until it comes time to apply it in a real life setting.”
McElmoyl has found teaching to be a great break from the stress of running a restaurant. “I enjoy the teaching. I get to share my knowledge with people who want to learn, as well as to network with people in the industry, potential clients and employees. I work with great people at the Trenton campus, and now I can add teaching to my résumé.”
Once he dons his chef’s whites at Oliver, the 50-seat B.Y.O.B. bistro he took over in 2006, he is singularly focused on making it the very best of dining experiences. The restaurant has received favorable reviews from the New York Times and several New Jersey magazines and newspapers, and has earned a Zagat rating that is among the best in New Jersey.
He describes his menu as based on French techniques with global influences. “I work very closely with local farmers, and that allows me to use the finest local ingredients,” he says. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday, featuring gourmet cuisine as well as a Tapas menu. Patrons may also select from a three-course, price-fixed dinner menu Tuesday through Friday nights.
McElmoyl says he is humbled to be included in Best Chefs America. “It’s great to be recognized by my peers for doing something that I love to do,” he says. With this honor, McElmoy finds himself in the exclusive company of fewer than five percent of all chefs in the United States.
McElmoyl’s success is no doubt due, in part, to his philogosphy about his customers. “My customers are my guests. I appreciate the opportunity to serve them,” he says.
McElmoyl earned his associate degree in Culinary Arts from the Academy of Culinary Arts in Mays Landing, NJ, and was also schooled by working at prestigious restaurants in Southern New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania.
More about MCCC’s CTI Culinary Certificate program can be found here. For more on Chef McElmoyl’s restaurant, visit www.oliverabistro.com.