Chef Thomas VanAcker studied culinary arts in Eugene, Oregon. After graduating in 1999, he continued his education with hands-on experience working at fine dining establishments that focused on organic, farm-to-table, Pacific Northwest cuisine. An active member of the local culinary community, he frequently participated in cooking demonstrations, competitions and the annual Oregon truffle festival.
In 2007, Tom moved back to his hometown in the Quad Cities and began staging meals at upscale restaurants in Chicago. This gave him the opportunity to work with many different chefs in their own kitchens, exposing him to new techniques and a wide variety of cuisines. He served as executive chef of Red Crowe Grille in Bettendorf, Iowa, until 2010. Always evolving in his trade, Tom then made the decision to travel to Arizona, in order to help feed firefighters who were battling wildfires. Traveling all over the West Coast for the fire season, Tom helped feed 3,000 firefighters breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.
When he returned to the Midwest later that year, Tom started an artisanal bread program at Faithful Pilot, a fine dining establishment in Le Claire, Iowa. There he prepared bread from wild yeast starters, overseeing every step of the baking process and growing the program to involve other local restaurants, including Crust Stone-Oven Pizza, where he was hired as chef in 2013.
As your in-store executive chef here at Hy-Vee, Tom VanAcker wants to pass along his 15-plus years of culinary knowledge, providing you with an exceptional variety of high-quality menu options. Please don’t hesitate to ask for him; he is available for any culinary questions, for classes, meal ideas and for home caterings, and he always enjoys sharing his love of food with customers.
Also serving our customers - Chef Zane Sandusky.