Richard J.S. Gutman
Director and curator, Culinary Arts Museum at
Johnson & Wales University, Providence, Rhode Island
Years at this
How you got the
gig: In 1989, the
given the Ever Ready, a 1926 15-stool diner.
When it was moved inside the museum in
2002, I was hired to be a guest curator for the
exhibit, and I loaned 250 objects from my
house for the display. It was well-received,
and, several years later, I was named director
What is the Culinary Arts Museum
at Johnson & Wales University? It is
a teaching museum that preserves and
interprets culinary and hospitality heritage.
A major focus of the university is to
encourage academic success and public
enjoyment. We showcase the work of
students, alumni and faculty.
What else are you known for? I am
considered the leading expert on the subject
of diners. I have written four books on their
history and consulted on more than 85
restoration projects and new installations.
In a front-page profile in The Wall Street
Journal, it was written, “Next time you step
into a diner, thank Richard J.S. Gutman for
What was your first job? I was a partner
at Poor Willie Productions, a Boston
design and media firm. I produced a slide
show, “Adam and Eve on a Raft,” about
food production in diners for “Objects
for Preparing Food,” an exhibition
jointly organized by the Museum of
Contemporary Crafts, New York, and
the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian,
How did you know that you wanted a
career in food history? I looked into the
history of diners and discovered it had
never been written. Sorting it out, and
eating many meals along the way, I became
fascinated by this slice of the foodservice
industry that produced so many amazing
structures and fed countless people over
What is your advice to culinary
students who do not want a traditional
culinary career? The world of food and
foodservice is so vast that there is room
for all sorts of entrepreneurs.
What is the most rewarding part of your
job? Interacting with visitors at the museum
is something I look forward to every day.
Just like each object on display, every person
has a story to tell and I am fascinated and
invigorated by learning about them.
What’s your favorite meal? Two poached
eggs on toast also known as, Adam and
Eve on a raft.
top: Rhode Island Food Policy
Council meeting attendees
enjoy dessert from the Agora Ice
Cream Parlor on display in the
museum, December 2014.
bottom: Adam and Eve on a raft.
To learn more about the Culinary
Museum at Johnson & Wales
University, visit www.culinary.org.