Students may notice unfamiliar faces serving food in the dining halls once or twice a month.
LSU Dining created a Visiting Chef program three years ago that allows chefs from all dining locations on campus to visit the resident dining halls and prepare their favorite dishes for students.
“It initially started when we had our executive chef Jon Jackson bring his expertise into the dining halls to allow students to experience something a little different to add some variety to the dining experience,” said Dean Samuels, LSU Dining marketing director.
The program aims to help students interact more with the chefs on campus and to learn more about the entire dining program offered, Samuels said.
It is also an opportunity for LSU Dining’s junior culinary staff to get some exposure, Samuels said.
“It’s not just the crème de la crème of our culinary team,” Samuels said. “Some of our leads who are up-and-coming get the chance to shine as well by going to the dining hall and showing off what they can do.”
The chefs usually prepare their favorite appetizers or entrées they would create for a catering event, he said.
Samuels said the two menu items that stand out to him are Chef Michelle Coverson’s jerk shrimp wonton wrap and Chef Terry McDonner’s speckled trout with mushroom and hollandaise sauce.
“It’s their chance to pick whatever they want to create,” Samuels said. “Usually we are working with menus and structure, so it’s their time to do something fun.”
There is one visiting chef per month per dining hall, and the schedule can be found in the Dining newsletter, Samuels said.
According to Samuels, students are usually curious and excited about the different menu items the visiting chefs provide.
“We want to make the dining experience in residence halls exciting,” Samuels said. “We want to keep it interesting and keep different things coming.”