Dustin Schmidt

Back to His Roots

Dustin Schmidt skinning salmon

Dustin Schmidt’s professional life has come full circle.

After working at a number of restaurant and food companies, Schmidt enrolled in the hospitality management and culinary arts program at Ƶ-Hastings, earning his associates degree in 2011.

“The instructors and the facility were wonderful,” said Schmidt. “It gave me more of the knowledge and technical skills that I could use in the workforce.”

After graduation, Schmidt worked at several different restaurants in the tri-cities area. Eventually, he was hired as a retail chef at HyVee in Kearney, where he was a human encyclopedia of sorts as he conducted food demonstrations, answered customer questions about food preparation, etc. This experience helped Schmidt hone his customer service skills, which for a chef can be unique because they usually don’t interact with the public.

In 2016, Schmidt returned to Ƶ as an instructor in the hospitality management and culinary arts program where he was able to draw on his food industry experience to help mold students wishing to enter the field.

“It gave me the opportunity to relate to students and know their desires or needs,” said Schmidt. “I was then able to structure my lesson plan and my instruction around those needs.”

In 2019, Schmidt returned to the industry and is now the executive chef at Odyssey, a fine-dining establishment in Hastings. He hasn’t totally left Ƶ as he is an adjunct instructor and he utilizes his instructional skills at Odyssey in teaching skills to his staff.

“My staff is getting an opportunity to produce (dishes) for the weekend that we work on together,” said Schmidt.