Chef Lisa Morgan is a self-proclaimed Army brat. She was born in California, lives in Lexington, Kentucky, and has resided all across the country. She started school in Missouri, but bounced around from state to state throughout her childhood. Becoming a chef was not Morgan’s vision from the beginning. Her dad had always told her that she was going to be a brain surgeon, so that was planted in her head. While living with her dad, she took on the role of going to the grocery store and cooking for the both of them when she was 12. Her love for cooking grew immensely from this and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
Chef Morgan’s work history was not always glamorous. Her first job was at Taco Bell when she was in high school. Within 3-4 weeks, the staff was trying to make her a manager. They would schedule her for shifts during the day, and it got to the point where she had to remind them that she was just a high school student.
Lisa has some wise words that she would write to her 16-year-old self. She would tell herself not to be a restaurant manager! "Always, always, always be the chef." She went back and forth in these two careers for a while. She notes that as a manager, you can be of any restaurant, work twice as hard as the chef, work twice as many hours, make good money, but there is very little appreciation that comes with the job. When the restaurant manager walks out, he or she could be asked, “Where’s the bathroom?” or “Can you throw this away?”
...But when the Chef walks out? A standing ovation could be in order.
Making people happy is so important to Chef Lisa. Pleasing people is the biggest driving factor to her success. From her jobs in the culinary field, she has had the pleasure of getting to see similar faces on a regular basis. Learning what food makes her customers happy makes it easy to keep this happiness flowing day in and day out.
The very first chef that Lisa ever worked for, Chef David Camp, was the most influential person when it comes to her career as a chef. He was the executive chef at Solarbron Pointe in Evansville, Indiana. Lisa started there as a server/ salad bar attendant. She used to watch him a lot and offer help; she jokes that she probably got in his way a lot! Chef David shortly started letting Lisa bake. She recalls using the Southern Living Cookbook often and being intimidated by the pictures, so Chef David began to cover the pictures with blank sheets of white paper and only removed them to reveal the book’s dish after Lisa completed her dish. Soon, Lisa was doing everything in the kitchen line: grill, sauces, you name it. Around ten years later, Chef Lisa was working as a corporate chef for the world’s largest senior independent living company traveling around hiring and training chefs for their facilities, when David Camps resume came across her desk! “He was actually very surprised that I credited him for being where I am,” Lisa added.
If Lisa could pick just one person to dine with, she would be eating dinner with Gordon Ramsey. Cooking for him would be the icing on top of a perfect meal, too. Being located in Kentucky, it is not the biggest surprise that her preferred last meal would have to be shrimp and grits! When asked about plans or dreams of retirement, Lisa told me she has accepted working until the day she dies. “Happily!” she quickly added.
Starting out with College Chef as the Chef of a large sorority at the University of Kentucky, Chef Lisa will transition into a Trainer role with College Chefs starting this August. Chef Lisa will travel the country and provide support where needed and share her culinary gifts with Chefs and staff around the country.
According to Assistant Director of Operations, Chef Scott Bachman, "Lisa has been a rockstar for College Chefs since day one. The sincerity and passion that she showed the [sorority] women was only eclipsed by the outstanding food coming out of her kitchen. We're looking forward to seeing what Lisa can do for our staff and customers around the country."
"Working with chefs like Lisa, who are passionate, sincere, mostly ego-free, and very easy going, is one of the best aspects about being a part of College Chefs," Bachman concludes.
By College Chefs' Kylie Sullivan