It seems unlikely that a self proclaimed music-geek would make a career as a chef. But, for the guys at Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) fraternity at Mizzou, Chef Brian is a match made in heaven. His taste in food is as varied as his taste in music. He enjoys trying new things. This sense of culinary adventure is apparent in the food he serves, like duck burgers, for example. Allowing young men to expand their horizons and try new things is a major passion of Brian’s.
At the age of fourteen, his culinary career began. He was bussing tables at a local downtown cafe. When the cafe closed, he searched high and low for a job “not at another restaurant,” he wasn’t looking to continue this culinary lifestyle. Call it fate, but he landed a job at a national chain restaurant and worked his way up to a managerial position. All the while being a spirited band and chorus kid looking to go into music education. The summer before his senior year of high school, he took his mom’s advice and thought about culinary school. Proving that moms do know best, Chef Brian started a formal culinary education at Ozark Technical Community College that would lead him to where he is today. With his schooling, he “gained a [vast] skill set to match his arrogance.”
Because of his experience in the front and back of the kitchen, he understands the importance of good customer service. It’s also allowed him to see how unique the environment of College Chefs compared to his past food and beverage industry experience. He appreciated the independence and freedom the chefs have. There’s an attitude of “do your thing, but do it well,” he describes, “there’s a cool culture.” He also describes a huge focus on quality; making good, creative, fresh food, “not just boring sandwiches,” as Chef Brian says.
As for his experience at Phi Gamma Delta, he explains how he built up trust in the house by putting out good classic food. Once he proved himself, he began experimenting with unique foods. Sure, Brian can produce a killer ground beef burger. But, his kimchi burgers were a success as well.
When he’s not creating killer and unique meals for the guys in the fraternity house, you can find the sci-fi nerd watching shows like “The Big Bang Theory” or “Dr. Who”. He also likes to attend concerts of almost any genre.
To learn more about Chef Brian, scroll down for a brief Q&A. Immediately below, see some of the ridiculously good food he has served.
Q: What is your favorite food to make?
A: Seafood of any kind. The fresher the better! Anything from scallops to shrimp to salmon, I really like playing with that. Coming from the midwest and being land locked, it’s out of the norm; it’s a real treat.
Q: What is your favorite food to eat?
A: My guilty pleasure is a big bowl of mac and cheese, especially with smoked gouda, more than just the traditional American cheese.
Q: What is your favorite food memory?
A: My most vivid food memory isn’t actually a good one. [When I was young] my mom worked out of town and got back late, so my dad cooked a lot. One time he burned the heck out of some hamburgers, they were black and crispy. [...] he never lived that down and that was fourty-five years ago. My mom would cook the entire weekend making [things like] chilli. Growing up we cooked and we cooked from scratch. I think that had a big influence on my career later.
The guys at Phi Gamma Delta are sure lucky. His true passion doesn’t lay with creating the weirdest burger, but with making people happy through food. We’re looking forward to see the innovative creations he’ll make and all of the smiles he’ll bring to people’s faces in the New Year.
By College Chefs' Danielle Gadus