The journalist turned chef liaison for Certified Angus Beef

Alumni Spotlight: Bryan Schaaf


Submitted by Bryan Schaaf

Bryan Schaaf at a speaking engagement for Certified Angus Beef in Asheville, N.C.


By the time four years comes to a close, college students like to think they know what their career path will look like for the next 40 or so years.

However, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, individuals born in the latter years of the baby boom age (1957-64) have held an average of 12.3 jobs in their lives. The report continues on to say that people today are subject to changing jobs more often.

Bryan Schaaf, a 2002 alumni of Ashland University has discovered this statistic to be true in his own life to where it is his life’s advice to college students today.

“Even if you think you know exactly what you want to do in life, make sure you keep your blinders off because you never know what opportunities may come up that will take you down paths that you never in a million years would know you would ever be interested in,” Schaaf said.

Schaaf attended AU from 1998-2002 where he earned his Bachelor of Science in sport communication and journalism. Schaaf was a writer for the Collegian, held a DJ shift on 88.9 WRDL and was a goalie for the men’s soccer team.

Although his minutes were limited, Schaaf said he was able to learn from former AU coach Brad Evans, who he said was one of the best young minds in the country at the time.

Schaaf used his passion for soccer to continue coaching later in life with the Ohio Strikers United, a premier soccer club, which he is still a coach for.

Furthermore, this past fall, Schaaf put a period on his 13-year stint as the head girls soccer coach at local Northwestern high school. During his 13 years, Northwestern won 115 games and Schaaf was named the District Coach of the Year three times.

“It was definitely hard to walk away from, but the time commitment and my work schedule from a travel perspective is pretty intense and it got to the point where something had to give,” Schaaf said.

Flash back to right out of college, Schaaf utilized both of his degrees and became a sports writer for the Daily Record in Wooster for six years. He covered a lot of professional sports in Cleveland including the early Lebron James years, but then transitioned as the business and government beat writer for four more years before moving into a different journey in his career.

In a career change he describes as a weird story, Schaaf was hired by Certified Angus Beef as a food writer where he became really interested in food and meat science.

Schaaf’s official title is chef liaison, but he travels and learns how to cook alongside the chefs, all while learning and writing for Certified Angus Beef’s website about the science of meat.
“It has been an intensive, kind of hands on learning experience about meat science, carcass breakdowns and the culinary science behind it,” Schaaf said. “The easy way to put it is it armed me with enough knowledge both from a culinary standpoint and a science standpoint to be dangerous.”

Certified Angus Beef, a company that is in 55 countries around the world, has their world headquarters based in Wooster.

Schaaf’s job has taken him to some of the biggest meat/cooking conventions in the country including Pebble Beach Food and Wine, the Louisiana bayou and the James Beard in Chicago every year.

“At one point I remember sitting on a bench at Pebble [Beach] Food and Wine sharing a bucket of Coors Light with Guy Fieri,” Schaaf said. “There are a lot of surreal moments that I have gotten to enjoy.”

In fact, on Feb. 2, Schaaf had the opportunity to be in Miami for Super Bowl LIV for work related purposes.

Schaaf met his wife Becky while they were both students at AU, and they now reside in Ashland with their two children Ward (10) and Elliot (7). Becky was recently an employee of AU as the Honors Program Coordinator before stepping down and taking the Director of Programming position at the Ashland Kroc Center.

A husband who in 2004 had to call his wife asking how to brown taco meat is now traveling the United States hanging around some of the best chefs America has ever seen. Not to mention Schaaf is now making extravagant meals at home such as charred oysters with a beef garam.

When he thinks back to his fondest memories of his time at AU, a few immediately come to mind.

“Where the football stadium is now, used to be the most beautiful, perfectly manicured grass/ soccer pitch… you just wanted to come out in preseason and just sleep on it, it was so perfect,” Schaaf said. “In the winter time we would take trays from Convo and we would use them as makeshift sleds on the hills of the soccer complex.”

After all of the opportunities Schaaf has been able to experience and enjoy throughout his career, he always goes back to his advice.

“While you’re there go out and explore the town, get to know the local businesses, the restaurants… Things that really connect you to what’s going on there because there’s actually a lot more going on in Ashland than I think anybody ever gives it credit for,” Schaaf said.