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Alumni Success

Culinary arts instructor at Olympic College; manages school’s student run restaurant

Robert Nash has a strong, yet diverse professional background. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Russian Language and Literature, he spent several years as an administrator and teacher in the northeastern United States. His passion for cooking took over and he decided to pursue a career in the culinary industry. That passion led him to the state of Washington where he spent more than 30 years working in the culinary arts.

“Once established in the field, I gradually took on more of a leadership role, moving from Chef to Executive Chef to Corporate Executive Chef positions in the hospitality industry,” said Nash. It is a demanding industry that requires you to work six to seven days per week and 60-70 hours per week so passion for the field is a must.”

“I had a strong desire to return to my roots as a teacher and impart my passion and knowledge for the culinary industry to future culinarians. I spent the last 10 years as a part-time culinary instructor at The Art Institute of Seattle. I decided to go back to school to earn my Master of Arts in Education (MAED) in Instructional Leadership from Argosy University, Seattle so that I could turn that part-time work into my full-time career,” added Nash.

“My education at Argosy University provided me with a knowledge base of progressive educational practices related to educating adult learners,” he says. “It gave me explicit and modern, up-to-date training in how to facilitate learning in the classroom. The educational landscape has greatly changed from when I was a teacher. The student demographics are different, and the learning expectations are different.”

Degree in hand, Nash became a full-time, tenure track professor of culinary arts at Olympic College in Bremerton in September 2013. Nash guides all first-year culinary arts students in the fundamental skills associated with the field. He also manages “The Bistro,” the college’s student-run restaurant open to the public where culinary students practice their trade and learn all facets of restaurant life before they graduate and enter the culinary field full-time. “The Bistro” also serves as the college’s hub for community engagement and, together with students, Nash executes events such as the Kitsap County Foodline Dinner, Columbus Day Olympic College Foundation Dinner, a host of non-profit fundraising events and community culinary events supporting local farmers.

Nash is an accomplished chef and instructor. “From being invited to cook at the James Beard House in New York City with a group of my peers to hosting the Greater Northwest March of Dimes Chefs Dinner for prestigious chefs in Seattle, I have had a challenging, yet rewarding career,” added Nash. “However, the highest honor of all has been the gratitude I received from former employees and students who I had the privilege of mentoring over the years.”

Nash remains engaged in the community outside of the college as well, actively involving himself in organizing local Pea Patch dinners for the city of Seattle, where citizens create gardens and donate produce to help support local food banks. “I have been instrumental in my local neighborhood in the creation of 72 community gardens to support local food banks to feed the hungry in the city of Seattle. I am very proud of these efforts and their impact on the community,” says Nash.

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