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Russ Zito

Johnson & Wales University
Associate Professor - Food Innovation & Technology
Providence, Rhode Island
Chef Russ Zito has several years of valuable experience as a faculty member at Johnson & Wales University and as a consulting research chef for Chef Services Group, Inc., as well as his own consultancy and operations at Z Culinary Services, LLC.
Russ is in his 23rd year and serves as an Associate Professor in the College of Food Innovation and Technology at JWU. He has developed curriculum for many of the culinary, food science, and sustainability in food service courses, and teaches culinary labs in core cooking competencies, restaurant operations, protein fabrication, culinary science, and sustainability.
On the R&D side, chef Zito has been instrumental to CSG, providing project management support to the delivery of services for projects such as, Harvard University Dining, TIC GUMS, Red Arrow Products, Pinnacle Foods, Slade Gorton, Bard Valley Date Growers, Plenus Group, and many others. As owner of ZCS, Zito is the key account manager for Costantino's Venda Ravioli, Mama's Pasta, and Robot Coupe USA. Russ has a strong analytical management style that enhances the strategic planning of projects and the quality of services offered to clients. His handling and development of customized spreadsheet applications for recipe costing and scaling, inventory control, forecasting, and ordering provide a unique business perspective.
Russ was born in Paterson, NJ and received culinary vocational training in Bergen County. After cutting his teeth in many local restaurants as a young cook, he left the area in 1985 to serve his country as a member of the United States Coast Guard. In 1986 he entered the Coast Guard’s formal culinary training program in Petaluma, CA and earned his Subsistence Specialist rating.
Chef Zito eventually found his way to Johnson & Wales University where he earned an AS in Culinary Arts, a BS in Food Service Management, and an MS in Managerial Technology while employed in their Management Development Training Program.
Upon graduation, Chef Zito took a position with Accurate Bronze Bearing Company in Paterson, NJ to head up the development of its newly founded food service equipment parts division.
In 1997, Zito returned to Johnson & Wales University as an instructor of Culinary Arts, teaching courses in Equipment Technology, Food Service Financial Systems, Culinary Arts, and Hospitality Information Systems. Chef Zito, now an Associate Professor with JWU, specializes in equipment and computer technology in food service and point of sale applications, small business accounting, inventory, and recipe information management. He has also served as the Intra-Collegiate Student Culinary Team Coach and as co-advisor to many of the RCA student Culinology teams.
Russ served 6 years as treasurer of the American Culinary Federation’s Rhode Island Chapter, and was instrumental in chapter operations and fund raising events. He was selected as the 2002 ACF Rhode Island Chef of the Year and is a 20 year member of the Research Chefs Association.
Chef Zito presently volunteers much of his professional skill and time to two organizations. Zito serves as Assistant Scoutmaster and Merit Badge Counselor with the Scouts BSA Troop, 1 Arnold Mills. Zito is also a key team member of the Franklin Farm Community Garden, an all volunteer, community garden that grows near 20 tons of farm fresh, organic produce annually, for donation to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.
Chef Zito’s experience in institutional, restaurant, private club, and hotel kitchen environments, balanced with his business management skills make him an invaluable asset to his employers and his clients. His 20 plus years of service in manufacturing, plant production, retail, and restaurant menu development have provided clients with an innovative approach to each specific project.