Faculty spotlight: Bidwell Training Center Chef Instructor Keith Butler
September, 24 2020 12:45 pm
We all know the famous phrase, “Not all superheroes wear capes,” and it’s true – because
there’s a hero in our organization who wears a chef hat.
Many unsung heroes have emerged during the COVID -19 crisis. From leaders of nonprofit
organizations and religious institutions to sanitation workers and teachers – thousands of
community helpers have jumped into action to give back to their fellow neighbors.
Keith Butler, Bidwell Training Center Chef Instructor, is one of those unsung heroes. Chef Keith
values and actively participates in community service, selflessly going above and beyond to
make a difference in Pittsburgh before and during the global health crisis.
“All of the things that are happening now, all of the things that I’ve been through in my life,
fuels me to help others. It’s hard work but it’s worth it, even if I only impact one person,”
says Chef Keith.
Giving Back to the Community
Sysco Pittsburgh, a leader in selling, marketing and distributing food and non-food products,
saw Chef Keith’s hard work and community efforts and welcomed him as their new diversity and inclusion liaison.
“They’ve been watching me and like the things that I do for the community. They asked me to help implement some diversity plans within their company and in the region. It’s a huge honor for me to be a liaison,” says Chef Keith.
Chef Keith has volunteered for countless organizations and initiatives including preparing and helping to distribute meals as a part of the Iota Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Incorporated’s Pittsburgh COVID -19 Food Drive. The food drive benefits senior citizens and has distributed over 15,000 meals so far.
“We make magic and it’s an honor to be a part of it,” adds Chef Keith.
Just last year, Chef Keith won a fundraising award in the 6th Annual Steel City Chef Challenge for raising the most money for the Community Liver Alliance, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting liver health and liver disease awareness.
Chef Keith is also the creator of the Pittsburgh Chefs & Foodies Unite Facebook page, where local chefs network, share recipes and job postings.
Chef Keith often involves his students in his volunteer work.
''They love it. It’s exposure, it’s networking. I tell them the days of chefs just being quiet in the kitchen are over. Chefs are leaders. We are at the forefront and getting involved in the community makes us powerful,'' says Chef Keith.
He hopes to guide his students to excellence in the classroom and beyond – just as his uncle, mentor and Pittsburgh soul food chef Dr. Bob McCall and Valerie Njie, former Bidwell Training Center Senior Vice President and Executive Director, did for him.
“It’s full circle. If I can help one person, it becomes generational. If everyone helped one other person, think about how great the world would be,” says Chef Keith.
Currently, Chef Keith is continuing to help his community through various efforts and has big plans for the future that he hopes will help a lot of people. He also looks forward to competing in the 7th Annual Steel City Chef Challenge, which takes place virtually this year on Saturday, October 17, 2020.