What’s your job title? Chief cook and bottle washer, aka Director of Dining.
What does your job entail? Assuring every Bobcat is safely fed with delicious, diverse dinners, excellent lunches, and breakfasts that are the bomb. Making sure we serve staff and students' needs. Staying open late for long nights of studying. Providing coffee shops with snacks dotted around, and catering services for all the special events we hope to have again soon. Student success is my success.
What do you enjoy the most about it? Fine-tuning our operations and watching the team turn out 2,000 meals like clockwork. Training our student workers so they know how commercial kitchens and dining services work. Once trained, it is great to see them take on leadership roles. I also love setting up ways to have interns from culinary schools and colleges work with us in serving our students staff and faculty.
What was your job before you came to UC Merced? I was a Sammy Slug and a Joe Bruin before becoming a Bobcat (Senior Food Services Manager at UC Santa Cruz and, before that, Food Service Operations Manager at UCLA).
What is one skill everyone should have? Being able to cook and feed yourself and your family inexpensively with healthy food. Have the skills to put together various meals, one right after another, 21 times a week. Everyone should be familiar with the kitchen. Not to mention that if you learn how to cook three different, great dinners for your date, you will have to learn how to make breakfast, too.
What do you do to relax? Yoga. I am a born yogi. Involving Yoga Sutras into daily life encourages the nervous system to become calm and quiet, moving the body into a more restful state of being.
What's the most unusual food you've eaten? I had a meal that consisted of a baked paste made from ground-up grass seed, some stirred-up bird ovums mixed with chopped leaves, and cow milk aged for more than three months that was heated over an open flame. In other words, I had a cheese omelette with spinach and basil, with toast on the side.
You’re preparing dinner at home for friends. What’s on the menu? For a TV/game night dinner for omnivorous friends of mine:
Paneer pakora with tamarind sauce
Curried shrimp scampi with mango chutney
Chicken korma with coconut rice
Spiced golden syrup on steamed pudding with fresh berries and whipped cream