by Teewhy Dojutelegan
Cameron University dining services provider, Sodexo Food Services, facilitated the Global Chef program on campus. The event ran for two days, from March 5-6 at various venues around campus.
According to the Sodexo Global Chef Website, the program started in 2003 based on Sodexo’s commitment to providing customers with the highest quality of service using the company’s most valuable resources: its chefs.
The Global Chef Program brought Chef Joaquin Suarez, a Colombian native, to Cameron University. Chef Suarez is the culinary leader for Sodexo Colombia, Costa Rica and Central America.
Chef Suarez has been cooking for about 20 years and has been in the Global Chef Program for over six years. He said he draws his inspiration from his love for food.
“Food inspires me to cook,” he said. “Food unites people. It unites the things you do in the kitchen with the time you spend with your family.”
Chef Suarez hopes his country can be seen in positive light such as for the food rather than for negative issues.
“Coming from a country where you see a long list of negative things, I feel it is time to change the perspective of what people think of my culture and my country,” he said. “My country and my culture are wonderful, and that is something to share.”
There was a food-tasting event during lunchtime on March 5 in the McMahon Centennial Complex food court. The samples served included grilled guava chicken, mashed potatoes, tilapia and red beans.
For dinner that day, shrimp ceviche, salt crusted beef, passion fruit chicken and lemon temptation desert was served.
The next day marked the finale of the Global Chef program at CU, with grilled strip loin, whole tilapia, baby octopus ceviche, barbeque guava pork and Bandeja Paisa served for lunch in the cafeteria.
Chef Suarez will visit Friends University, Wichita, KS and Chapman University, Los Angeles, CA next during his travelling tour with the Global Chef program.
According to Daniel Ghrayyeb, General Manager of the Sodexo Food Service on campus, the Sodexo kitchen staff helped Chef Suarez in preparing the masterpiece meals.
Ghrayyeb said that one person that stood out was Chef Debbie Wilson.
“Chef Debbie has been with Sodexo over 30 years and was recently appointed the Executive Chef position,” he said. “She trained in Chicago with the chef a few weeks ago to be able to help cook the meals.”
Ghrayyeb said Chef Wilson is highly dedicated to serving CU students.
“Debbie has a huge commitment to the university and the students,” he said. “She works long hours to make sure everything is running smoothly and that the students are happy.”
According to Chef Wilson, she loves to cook. She started working for Sodexo in Plainview, Texas, where she put in 10 years. She then transferred to CU, where she has been ever since.
Chef Wilson said she likes to see students happy. She has taken the role of “Mom on Campus” for many of the students.
“I like to see their [students] faces when they are happy,” she said. “I just like to be everybody’s mom away from home.”