In the kitchen with ...

Clyde Rush brings gourmet cooking to Cleveland High


Posted 3/7/18

Clyde Rush, a culinary instructor at Cleveland High, is a local chef who combines his passion for cooking with his love of teaching younger generations.

Originally from Cleveland, the …

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In the kitchen with ...

Clyde Rush brings gourmet cooking to Cleveland High


Clyde Rush, a culinary instructor at Cleveland High, is a local chef who combines his passion for cooking with his love of teaching younger generations.

Originally from Cleveland, the 57-year-old actually started the culinary program at Cleveland High in 2013, and has since acquired three connected rooms at the school to use for his hands-on cooking approach.

Using one classroom as the dining room/classroom, another for the prep kitchen and finally the third as a cooking battery, Rush has a large area that allows him to be flexible when teaching his pupils; it also allows him to be as detail-oriented as needed.

“I’ve been cooking since I was 9 years old,” Rush said. “I’ve always enjoyed it, and I went to school at the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park, New York, so I learned a lot while there, but I never considered teaching.”

One of Rush’s friends, Faye Blackburn, asked Rush if he would be interested in teaching a cooking course, an idea to which Rush initially scoffed at.

“I thought, ‘Who wants to waste their education on teaching?’ but once I did it, I instantly loved teaching the next generation of young people, but if someone told me I’d be doing this 20 years ago, I’d have said that there is no way,” Rush said.

Rush earned his teaching certificate through Lincoln Memorial University's Knoxville site. Beginning teaching two days after 9/11, Rush taught for nearly a year before leaving the profession. He states that after leaving teaching and working another job, God placed it on his heart to get back into teaching.

Starting his teaching at Bradley Central, Rush later went to the Whitfield County Career Academy in Dalton, Georgia, then went to North Murray High until he was “stolen away” back to Cleveland by CTE Director Renny Whittenbarger and CHS Principal Autumn O’Bryan.

Hors d’oeuvres, entrées and baking are just some of the dishes that Rush enjoys showing his students how to create. He states that he was trained to cook at 16 years old by the mother of Paul Ramsey, a current CHS instructor.

He believes that all of his cooking techniques come from practice, as even the hardest of recipes can be made easy with enough repetition.

Some of the ethnic foods Rush enjoys crafting include Italian dishes, such as fettuccine alfredo; Southwestern foods with fresh tortillas; and obviously, Southern foods.

“One thing that I just can’t get perfect is biscuits. That is definitely something that my wife does better than I,” Rush added.

As a teenager, Rush started working at his family’s restaurant, the 411 Steakhouse, which unfortunately burned down several years later. He also worked for the Lake Ocoee Inn; a Jewish caterer in New York; the Walden Club; and as the private chef for Jake Butcher, a banker at the World’s Fair, just to name a few.

Having cooked for family as well as celebrities, some of Rush’s diners have included former President Jimmy Carter, the Rappaports of Europe and Bert Lance, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under Carter.

Aside from cooking, Rush also worked in the medical field at Bradley Memorial Hospital for Morris’s Management Specialists, which went into hospitals to give dietary consultations.

The students of his Culinary IV Class, which is the fourth level of Rush’s cooking courses, explained that they have learned a significant amount from him, ranging between culinary skills, leadership skills and basic sanitation that relates to food prep.

“I first took this class to learn how to cook, but started loving it and continued taking it!” stated Amber Davey, student.

“Chef Rush taught us so much that you can’t just walk out on the class; it essentially makes you want to continue taking the classes to learn more and more,” stated student Nikki Anderson.

The students are also involved with prepping hot meals that CHS students can purchase for a few dollars in between their classes. Meals can range from jerk chicken and pork loin to pineapple upside-down cake, and the students prep the meals in stride.

One of the factors that make the students so passionate about cooking is being involved with Skills USA, which Rush is the faculty advisor for. Skills USA is a competitive club pittingh students against one another in skills-based events that range from cooking to T-shirt design. Rush explains how proud he is that his students perform so well each year at the Skills USA conferences.

“Since cooking shows are so prevalent now, more guys are taking cooking courses, as opposed to just the girls. Several years ago, guys were self-conscious about cooking, but not so much now, due to things like that,” Rush said.

The chef states he feels confident that his students will leave his course knowing about basic sanitation, meat preparation and countless other skills.

“I love being in my hometown and teaching students. I love being in my classroom and love getting my hands dirty, and seeing the students get involved as well,” he added.

Chef Rush can be contacted at Cleveland High School throughout the week, and offers four levels of culinary courses to test your cooking mettle. 

Chocolate Chess Bars

1 Chocolate Cake Mix

1 Egg

4 oz. Melted butter

Mix together and press into a 9x13” cake pan

1 8 oz. Cream cheese

16 oz. Powdered sugar

3 Eggs

7 tsp. Coco powder

Mix with wire beater and blend well. Pour on top of cake mix and bake at 325 for 45 minutes – 1 hour until done.

Aunt Becky’s Green Bean Casserole

Prepared by Raider Café Students

(1) 16 oz. bag frozen green beans. Thaw and squeeze between paper towels to remove excess water. 
½ bag frozen shoe peg corn (8 oz.) canned corn may be substituted. Drain liquid and combine green beans and corn. Spread in the bottom of a 9 x 13” casserole dish (Use cooking spray to prevent sticking)


1 cup sour cream

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 can cream of celery soup (or cream of mushroom)

1 cup chopped onion

mix together and spread over beans and corn


1 roll of Ritz or Townhouse crackers – crushed

1 stick melted butter

1 cup sliced almonds

Mix ingredients together and spread over top of sour cream, cheese, soup and onions.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until piping hot and golden brown. Makes 12-15 servings.

Potato Rolls

12 oz. sugar

12 oz. shortening

Cream together sugar and shortening.

1.5 cups mashed potatoes

Add potatoes and cream again.

4 lbs. self-rising flour

40 oz. scalded milk

*1 oz. yeast, dry

*1 cup warm water

Add to sugar mixture alternately as flour, milk, flour, milk, flour, milk, flour.

* Mix yeast with warm water and let set. Add yeast water to flour mix and blend together. Pour roll mix into an oiled bowl and let set over night. Dust table with flour and roll out potato dough to 1/2” thickness and cut out round disks. Stretch cut roll and dip half into melted butter. Lie on sheet pan and lay top half of roll on top of the bottom half. Give it a pinch to seal Parker House roll. Let proof (aka "bloom") until double, and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.


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