Listen up house directors! Chef Leslie Maine has solved the problem of getting all members to pay their dues! It’s simple: pizza burgers.*
*can be substituted by any mouthwatering famous College Chefs menu item.
A Home in College Chefs
Chef Leslie Maine moved to Oxford, Mississippi with no job to help her children receive a great, higher-education. In tune to today’s society, she understood how helpful the college experience could be for them and their future, so she and her husband made a selfless decision to leave what they knew and move closer to Ole Miss. Within the first few weeks, Leslie and her husband learned how hard the open job market could be. When a dishwashing position at College Chefs opened up nearly five years ago, she saw her opportunity to get back on her feet. Her son, who was currently a fraternity member at a neighboring house, warned her about the job, “mom, you don’t want to do that!” But Leslie ignored prior perceptions and found quite the opposite with her newfound family in College Chefs.
Shortly after her hire as a dishwasher, a Sous Chef position opened up at the house. Forming a connection with the community, she felt so supported in her climb up the ladder to head chef position. “I feel so honored and grateful [...] everyday I can’t believe it’s real.” Leslie has an incredible drive to be better. In College Chefs, she’s found the opportunity to explore her creativity and know, if she stumbles, the team is here to pick her up and answer any technical questions she has.
More Than Just a Chef
Leslie has built a sort of camaraderie in the house that naturally occurs when humans bond over a meal. “It’s great to peek out of the kitchen and see them sitting together enjoying each other’s company and enjoying the food.” She also adds fun names to all of the dishes, bringing people together even more. You bet that Graham* is first in line when “Graham’s Buffalo Chicken Dip” is on the menu for dinner.
*Yes this is a real dish in the Beta Theta Pi house at Ole Miss. Yes Graham is in fact always first in line when it’s served.
It’s the sense of community that Leslie wanted for her own children when they were going through college. Where the dining room feels like a piece of home. Members of Beta Theta Pi have been known to pay their dues after seeing what Leslie posts on the menu. A self proclaimed perfectionist, she’s already planning her Halloween decorations and dishes to make it a meal to remember. (It’s worth noting that we conducted the interview in mid September!)
Life Outside of the Kitchen
While she is always learning new recipes and techniques for new dishes, Leslie takes the weekends off. An animal lover, she works at the Humane Society during the summer and takes care of her family of rescue dogs and cats in her free time. When she’s not creating mouthwatering dishes or caring for others, you can find her getting zen practicing yoga.