J&W president loves to savor good books

Art Gallagher, president of Johnson & Wales University's Charlotte campus, isn't a foodie but he recently devoured a food book.

“The United States of Arugula,” by David Kamp, details the national path to widespread gourmet eating and appealed to Gallagher's taste for history. On campus, surrounded by aspiring chefs and restaurateurs, he enjoys grazing the wealth of food choices. He claims no favorite dish, style or origin, knowing the next day will bring a new delight from one of 17 kitchens.

Other recent reads include “Your 15th Club: The Inner Secret to Great Golf,” by golf mental guru Bob Rotella, who works with pros to improve their game. And he enjoyed Fortune columnist Stanley Bing's take on navigating corporate politics in “Sun Tzu Was a Sissy: Conquer Your Enemies, Promote Your Friends, and Wage the Real Art of War.”

For Gallagher, who favors bow ties, the message was “Don't take yourself so seriously at all times, but be aware that other people do take themselves seriously.”

Johnson & Wales opened in Charlotte in 2004. Gallagher, who was raised in Brooklyn and is a Yankees fan, came here from the school's Rhode Island campus, the system's largest. He reads the Observer, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal and says The Journal should drop its online fee.

“The Observer and The Times give you great service online for free,” he said.

Son Chris gave him an iPod, and he's loaded artists such as U2, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Seal.

Gallagher, 57, embraces advice he's heard in varying forms.

“You need to know yourself to be yourself. If you know who you are and what you want to do, if you keep working on that, you're bound to be successful.”

Stella M. Hopkins