Chris Wisbey, resident director of AVI, personally knew the man to whom the trophy is dedicated.
“We had a chef named Nick Macheca,” Wisbey said. “I worked with him for about six months at Mount Union. [In] November of 2011, he got really sick and was in the hospital. He was released, went home and later he passed away in his sleep. He left behind five kids and a wife. It’s very unfortunate.”
Wisbey sent out an email to all students on campus asking for the return of the chef knife.
“I took it personally, because I knew Nick very well,” Wisbey said.
The knife was a part of a trophy won last year by a Platinum Chef team consisting of Malone students. The trophy was on display behind the cashier stand in the cafeteria.
“The trophy really isn’t complete if we don’t have the knife now,” Wisbey said. “It was at Hiram for a year; it was at Mount Union for a year; it was here for almost a year with no issues. All of a sudden someone wants to take it.”
Taylor Burnham, a junior communication arts major, was a member of the Platinum Chef team who won the trophy.
“There was a competition at Malone; there were three teams, and we all competed,” Burnham said. “We made three dishes. There were judges and whoever won that went to the championship.”
Burnham found out about the stolen knife when walking into the cafeteria.
“I was a bit confused on why someone would steal a knife off a trophy,” Burnham said. “Kind of seems pointless to me. I wasn’t happy.”
Because of the recent theft, AVI is increasing their security and adding surveillance cameras to the entrance of the cafeteria.
“We are going to have them facing the register now so we can see that area,” said Adam Crawn, AVI’s general manager.
The annual Platinum Chef competition will be taking place soon, and the trophy will go to whichever team wins the competition.
“All we are asking is for whomever took the knife to please bring it back; we just want it to [either appear] on the trophy or [be] given to an AVI team member,” said Wisbey in an email to the Malone community. “No questions will be asked and there will be no repercussions.”