The guiding principle of Soil2Service leadership is the improvement of all communities, individuals and systems. This principle is held in the highest regard for the Executive Director, Board of Directors and anyone participating in the organization. Leadership in Soil2Service abides by the five principles outlined below and work to develop anyone involved with the organization to understand and adopt the principles.
Board of Directors
Eric Abbey, M.A.
Eric has been working in the restaurant industry for 25 years. Starting as a bus boy and moving through the front of the house as a waiter and the bartender at a 4-star restaurant gave him the knowledge and skills of the entire front of the house. As a sensei in a Japanese martial art he was drawn to Japanese culture and began working at Japanese restaurants in Michigan. Moving to New York City he gained a bartending position at a four diamond Japanese restaurant a block away from the Waldorf Astoria hotel. Here he served many famous people and continued to develop his style for customer service. After returning to Michigan he continued bartending at local breweries and other corporate restaurants expanding his knowledge of restaurant management and customer service. Eric’s focus on the elegance of the dining experience for the customer has always been the key to his success. The server, and service must not be distracting or noticed by the customer but should be felt.
Eric is also a full professor of literature at a prominent Community College and a Doctoral Candidate at a University. His teaching and educational background focuses on postmodern drama and music. For the past 15 years, he has been teaching and researching best practices in assessment and education. He is also the founder of the Eastern Kendo Club at Eastern Michigan University and has been an instructor since its founding in 1997. His publications include Garage Rock and Its Roots: Musical Rebels and the Drive for Individuality, a monograph on McFarland Books and Hardcore, Punk, and Other Junk: Aggressive Sounds in Contemporary Music, an edited collection on Lexington Books which appears in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum library.
Mike Hix has worked as a consultant for over 23 years. His attention to detail and passion for service has carried him up the ladder at several high-profile companies including his present positions Client Services Executive for Emtec Inc. an IT consultancy company. Mike has been awarded many top performance awards over his career. Mike is a graduate of the University of Michigan.
While IT is his profession, Mike is a novice food critic; sampling food and service everywhere his job takes him. His love and understanding of good food and service goes beyond the average diner. Mike is married with two children.
Mike Hix joins the Soil2Service, Inc. Board of Directors with a unique understanding of food and service coupled with the desire to make a positive difference in the lives of the people that work in the food system.
Thomas Giles, CEC, WCEC
Tom is an ACF and WACS certified executive chef, with over 30 years culinary management experience in hotels, resorts, restaurants, corporate, healthcare, university and executive dining. Tom currently resides in Southwest Michigan with connections to the Detroit area working with some of the best Chefs in the state.
Having graduated from the American Culinary Federation chef apprenticeship program, Tom has a clear understanding of the expectations and challenges those future chefs entering the culinary field face in today’s market. with a passion for food and a sincere desire to share knowledge and experience in culinary arts, Chef Giles is an incredible asset to the Soil2Service Board of Directors.
“There has never been a more opportune time than now, to enter or expand an already existing role in the hospitality industry. New trends and techniques are emerging all the time and I feel it is important that we’re at the forefront of this ever-changing industry. It is an honor to sit on the Board.
To truly love what you do for a living is rare and I love being a chef!”
Jeremy Abbey, WCMC, CEC, CEPC, CCE, CCA
Improving the human condition through all things positive, focusing on food has been the guiding principle in Jeremy’s life for over a decade. The power of connectivity and the possibilities of improving human capital through food, hospitality and the culinary arts has led to Soil2Service.
A Detroit native, Jeremy has worked in some of Detroit’s premier restaurants and has opened some of the most influential hospitality concepts in the nation. From fine dining to retail to hospitals and education, his diverse experience in the culinary arts has allowed him to affect the lives of many, now on a global scale. By challenging his skill set through international competition and the startup of DUO, he earned the World Certified Master Chef designation from World Chefs along with the Certified Executive Chef, Executive Pastry Chef, Culinary Educator and Culinary Administrator from the American Culinary Federation. He holds a degree in Culinary Arts and a degree in Sustainable Agriculture. Jeremy has run a successful catering and consulting operation for more than 20 years and has consulted on the opening of multi-million dollar concepts by creating culinary “stories” to differentiate concepts in the market place.
Jeremy’s writings and recipes have been published in both national and international publications covering topics including seasonal ingredients and certification but primarily focusing the conversation on social sustainability in the hospitality industry. “Soil2Service has been a dream of mine. To create a place for food to be the focus, from growing it to serving it. We hope to make a difference in the communities that we are involved in and look forward to hearing from you.”
“Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness. “ – Esscoffier
John T. Piazza, CEC, CCA
Chef Piazza’s career in the world of culinary arts and business management reflects his creativity, versatility and entrepreneurial spirit. John started working in restaurant kitchens at the age of 15. He graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration in Hotel and Restaurant Management. He later earned an Associate Degree of Occupational Studies in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY.
After years as a chef and restaurant operator, John joined a post-secondary institution in the Metro Detroit area to create and direct a multi-campus culinary arts school. John has joined the American Culinary Federation Educational Foundation as both a post-secondary school accreditation evaluator and an ACF certification practical exam evaluator. Currently, John is the Executive Director of Business Development for Soil2Service, Inc., a project consultant for the American Culinary Federation, and the treasurer of the Michigan Chef’s de Cuisine Association. Chef Piazza’s view on hospitality culture and his commitment to
people brings a unique edge to the team.