|It is with profound sadness that Monroe College announces the passing of Chef Craig Rutman, Director of Culinary Arts. Chef Rutman, 45, died of a heart attack while playing tennis on Saturday, July 16. He is survived by his wife Cindy, and nine year-old daughter, Brooke, who live in Douglaston, NY.|
“’Horrendous’ is the only word I can think of to describe this, “said President Stephen Jerome to Monroe staff, faculty, and students who gathered on Monday afternoon. “This was a man who never used the word, ‘no’. He was one of the most positive, uplifting, enthusiastic individuals you could imagine.”
Chef Rutman was central to the launching of Monroe’s popular Culinary Arts Program, but he was best known as a pastry chef. He cultivated his love for pastries at a young age. His paternal grandfather was a bread baker and he was drawn to his grandmother's kitchen.
He was a line cook at the River Café in Brooklyn and was soon elevated to pastry chef. He went on to be the pastry chef at An American Place and the well-known Sarabeth’s in New York City.
He opened his own restaurant, a Mediterranean eatery, Bissaleh, in 1997. While he enjoyed the challenge of owning a restaurant, it didn't leave him enough time for his family. So he sold the café and returned to working as a pastry chef, this time at Brooklyn's Cucina Restaurant.
In 2000, he began teaching baking at the New York City Technical College in Brooklyn. There, and in his subsequent position as Director of Culinary Arts at Monroe College, he took great pride in his students’ success and was passionate about culinary arts.
“The students, faculty, and staff of Monroe College have lost a very special person, a true leader and teacher who everyone admired,” said Vice President for Academics, Dr. Stephen Waldow. “He loved what he did, most of all working with and seeing the success of his students. He will be missed by all of us.”