You’ve got to move fast to keep up with Britney Hopper, Head Chef at Kappa Alpha Theta-UIUC. Like many of College Chefs’ rising stars, Chef Britney has packed a lot of culinary experience into her career. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu’s culinary program at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Scottsdale, Arizona, she went right to work at some of the finest resorts in the area. During her time in Arizona, she honed her culinary chops at The Phoenician Resort and The Talking Stick Golf Club, two heavyweight fine-dining destinations.
Returning to her native state of Illinois, Chef Britney made the decision to give back and inspire other young chefs by developing and teaching the Baking and Pastry Program at Richland Community College in Decatur, Illinois. When asked to describe her philosophy on cooking, Chef Britney keeps it simple. “Trust your gut and if you feel it, go for it,” she says with smile.
Chef Britney followed her own gut instinct and joined College Chefs several years ago, much to the delight of the ladies of Kappa Alpha Theta-UIUC. She has acquired the nickname of “Condiment Queen” at the house because of her ability to create fantastic sauces, toppings, and dressings for her many dishes. When pressed, she reveals that her house-made vinaigrette probably tops the list of what her chapter enjoys the most. Chef Britney cherishes the fantastic relationships that she has with the ladies in the house. “It is so enjoyable to feel this connection,” she shares. “I feel an obligation to do whatever I can to make their mealtime memories special.”
While Chef Britney enjoys feeding nearly 185 ladies each day at Kappa Alpha Theta, she most enjoys feeding her six-year-old son each night when she gets home. She appreciates the fact that working for College Chefs has enabled her to do what she loves and “still have a great family life.” Chef Britney relies on her love of exercise and eating healthy to help her keep on top of all of her responsibilities and to care for her very active six year old!
When asked during a break in her busy day what she might see herself doing 10 years from now, Chef Britney stares thoughtfully for a moment. “Maybe someday I could see myself relaxing a bit and having a small brunch place. Somewhere near the water where I could really utilize my pastry background,” she said. With a quick smile, Chef Britney snaps back into the present and back into motion. She has mouths to feed and a child to raise.
- Riley Miller, Special Events Coordinator