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Professor’s Room: Chef David Beckwith

An occasional series that visits the inner sanctums of academia – because clever people have interesting rooms.

By Lindsey Coulter

December 6, 2018

David Beckwith in office

Chef and Lecturer David Beckwith’s passion for food and art is evident as soon as you enter his Hospitality Learning Center office. A perfect pot pie serves as his computer desktop image, dozens of cookbooks line the shelves, and every wall and cabinet is packed with sculptures, photographs and prints (many also of food).

His culinary career stemmed from the desire to bake a perfect chocolate cherry chip cake, and today the former restaurateur teaches classes such as baking and pastry, cooking and pairing with beer and wine, food science and more — if his office didn’t tell you that already.

  1. There is something about a martini that is just timeless. A martini of any cocktail spans decades — you could go all the way back to the roaring ’20s and through the ’30s.
  2. This whip from an A200 Hobart mixer. It used to whip up 20-quart quantities of cream and egg whites; now it’s a table lamp. A friend of mine made it for me and then did the same with the dough hook and paddle.
  3. I love this print because Princess Grace was gorgeous, and there was a lot of mystery in her life and how she died. Also, when I teach my course on wine pairing, we spend twice as much time in the Champagne region as we do anywhere else.
  4. This 3D art project was a lot of fun to put together. It started with the fork-and-spoon clock on the bottom, and the upper one celebrates New Orleans and Mardi Gras. Students come in and ask about the cigar guillotine, because most of them don’t know what that is. A lot of people also see the plastic baby and don’t realize it’s from a king cake.
  5. This photograph of a hallway from the cells to the furnace at Dachau was taken by a good friend who was a waiter at my old restaurant. There is something about the photo’s starkness. It’s a very straightforward black and white, but it really makes a statement.
  6. The child in this photo is actually Carol Krugman, our recently retired department chair. She showed us all this photograph, and I just thought it personified her. It’s a great example of taking a picture of someone and really capturing their soul. It’s a riot that people visit and ask who the little girl is, and I say, “Oh, that’s my boss.”
  7. I actually hate Halloween. I grew up in Davenport, Iowa, and on Halloween it was always drizzling rain and cold. Plus you’re bundled up and you had to wear some stupid costume, and then your parents make you go up to a stranger’s house and beg for candy. That’s not my style.

Do you or one of your colleagues have an interesting office? Email to have it featured in the Professor’s Room series.

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