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College chef competes for students' appetites

Sept./Oct. 2014 California Bountiful magazine

Chef takes a farm-to-fork approach to menus at San Diego State University




Chef Ed Glebus

Chef Ed Glebus acknowledges having a competitive streak. It comes with the territory.

"Chefs are naturally competitive," he said, then added with a laugh, "If you put enough of them in a room, you're going to end up with a competition."

But that's fine with Glebus: "It improves your skills. It keeps you current, fresh."

Most recently, the Massachusetts native, who oversees dining services at San Diego State University, won a silver medal in a national competition for best college and university chef.

Glebus says cooking for a primarily student clientele isn't that dissimilar to his previous jobs, which include hotel, corporate and catering roles.

"Everyone enjoys food that's unique and different," he said. "There's a core menu of a college student—burgers, chicken tenders, pizza—but as a chef you ask, how do you make it better?"

Using fresh, local ingredients and focusing on from-scratch cooking are two keys, Glebus said. He also extends the menu beyond the standard fare to include recipes such as those on the following pages. In addition, he and his team host Iron Chef-style competitions, and share tips and tastings at lunchtime cooking presentations.

"The students are getting creative, nutritious, local food that's geared toward them," Glebus said. "If I can improve the quality of what they're eating, and I can make them crave it and come back and want it again, then my job is done."

Barbara Arciero
barciero@californiabountiful.com

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