An Interview with Executive Chef Rory Bancroft

Rory Bancroft spent a recent Thursday morning transporting 17 pounds of locally-made goat cheese donated by J2Capraio for last week’s Rain Barrel Ball. He made a stop at the South Bend Farmer’s Market where he discovered some exceptional eggplants and he just couldn’t resist the oval tomatoes as deep red as a garnet at the Purple Porch Co-Op.


Everyone’s talking about local food and sustainable food. How important is that to you?

It’s extremely important. We want to deal with local vendors and local farmers as much as possible. It only makes sense to work with the people who live in this area and as a result make a different in the local economy. Why wouldn’t you? When I say I serve fresh vegetables, I mean it. And I don’t try to manipulate the food too much. The recipe might be as simple as the vegetable, some salt and a few herbs.


As SAVOR takes over the catering services at Century Center, what’s most important to you?

We want to serve quality food for large-scale events. That isn’t always easy. We can’t do everything a restaurant does, but we are working hard to make huge improvements in our cuisine and service.


How did you become a chef?

I grew up in Glenwood, Illinois, just south of Chicago, and started preparing grill food at age 14 at our local country club. My brother brought home tips, so I wanted to do that too! One day a cook in the restaurant didn’t show up and I ended up on the line. A light bulb went off in my head. This is what I wanted to do. I went to culinary school and haven’t looked back.


Where have you worked?

A lot of different places! The Abbey Resort in Lake Geneva, The Country Springs Hotel in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois and most recently, the Zephyr Cove Resort in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.


What improvements are being made at Century Center?

Most importantly from the SAVOR standpoint, we have undergone a much-needed equipment renovation in the kitchen and have modernized the presentation of foods so that guests see more preparation outside of the kitchen.


SAVOR has been providing food and beverage services to a wide range of public facilities across the United States and in Europe and Mexico since 1983. Key to the operating philosophy is to consider each venue individually, remaining flexible to specific needs and being responsive to regional preferences.