Charles Kerber (Human Resource Management 1997), who simply answers to Chef Chuck, wasn't sure who he was talking to when he received a call from Beverly Hills to do a catering job. All he knew is he was to cater 10 different meals every week for a person by the name of Shelly Kearns in Wexford, a Pittsburgh suburb.
He didn't learn that Kearns' daughter is Christina Aguilera until he received a check from the Grammy award-winning artist. He said the chicken, salmon and pasta dishes prepared for Kearns are “pretty basic and traditional.” He always brings homemade cookies, and “they are always happy to see me.”
Kerber is no stranger as a restaurateur. The corporate executive chef, named one of Pittsburgh's top 50 by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, was recognized for his accomplishments in the community. He's been No. 1 the past two years on www.urbanspoon.com, a website about Pittsburgh restaurants from critics and food bloggers. More than 150 positive reviews have been written about Kerber.
The 1993 graduate of the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, formerly in Pittsburgh, started out doing an apprenticeship at The Carlton Restaurant in Pittsburgh, and worked there while at Point Park. He was executive corporate chef at Euphoria Post, Weinberg Terrace, Shadyside Market, Square Cafe, Blue Goose Catering, (all in Pittsburgh), and was saucier at Mitchell's Fish Market at the Waterfront in Homestead. He helped open La Strada in Pittsburgh, and did a human resource management internship at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh.
Kerber's interest in cooking started when he was 3 years old, learning from his Italian mother (Claire Delandro of Pittsburgh) and German father (Charles Kerber of San Diego, Calif.) who both “loved to cook.” Kerber admits to favoring breads, Greek, Spanish and Italian delicacies, and sushi. Topping the list is his most requested whiskey bread pudding.
The Swissvale resident said the degree from Point Park helped him immensely in his blogging and catering business, considering 90 percent of chefs don't have bachelor's degrees. “I loved Point Park and I am delighted at how much the university has grown. The professors had practical working experience and the class size was small. I learned about writing there,” said Kerber, who never missed a psychology class taught by his favorite professor, Robert Fessler, Ph.D.
Text by Melissa Williams Schofield
Photo by Martha Rial
The Point is a magazine for alumni and friends of Point Park University.