Whittier Vocational School
PC-1 ProChef Certification, Culinary Institute of America
“I grew up in a large Italian family and every gathering was an event,” says Leonard (Lenny) Lagasse. “Even at an early age, preparing food was something that made me happy, and I enjoyed doing it. Living with my Italian grandmother, she taught me the things that I needed to do to participate in the family meals and to really grow my passion for food. I was making pasta before I entered kindergarten.”
Lenny’s culinary education came from his diverse food service experience, working at multiple levels within the industry, under many talented chefs for almost 40 years. He washed dishes, worked in catering and vending, owned his own restaurant, and spent decades in corporate food service handling large volume events across the country, which opened up the door to big opportunities, like running hot production for the Sydney Olympics. Lennny was a Rich Products customer while working in corporate food service, using their products for a number of years, before he later became an employee.
Lenny joined the Rich’s team in 2013, and rose quickly through the culinary ranks. He supports distribution managers and works with C-stores, as well as local and major national chains in the Northeast market, covering everywhere north of Delaware, all the way to Maine and as far west as Buffalo. Lenny also uses his well-versed background to collaborate with Rich’s research and development team on new product development.
His favorite parts of his role are the people he works with and the variety of ways he can help his customers succeed through menu development, ideation, labor saving, finding alternative products, introducing new innovative items that they may add to their menu, and more.
“Every customer has a different page, has a different chapter, and has a different need,” he explains. “With so many years of hands-on experience working in the food service industry, I can be in their shoes and know what's it's like to run a kitchen, produce, or work with employees.”