Seven years at Legends Grille, 14-hour shifts, 31 years of experience, 100 workers to supervise and 1,000 customers per day comprise Wayne Griffin’s recipe to becoming the new executive sous chef at BYU.
Griffin chose to work at BYU because of good standards, professional practices, outstanding resources for learning, family-friendly environment and inspiring students.
“I have noticed consistent efforts to maintain high standards at BYU,” Griffin said. “I also enjoy working here because I love BYU sports.”
As the sous chef at Legends Grille, Griffin made sure to accommodate the needs of athletes by creating dishes with the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats to keep them at maximum performance level.
Steve Boice, receptionist at the Student Athletic Building, said Griffin always went out of his way to stop by and say hello to everyone.
“We get to see him once or twice a week at Legends Grille,” defensive lineman Travis Tuiloma said. “He’s tight, he’s like one of the boys.”
Griffin said he often compares the kitchen and a chef to sports and a coach. Griffin is constantly working with managers to create new menus and specials just as coaches work with their staff to create new strategies and plays. In the end, both want their teams to be successful.
Griffin said the most memorable experience he had at Legends Grille was feeding the football team at the training table where Griffin and his team fed 140 players, three meals per day for six days.
“It was a challenge, but I loved having the opportunity to interact with players like Jake Heaps, Bryan Kariya, JJ Di Luigi and Ross Apo,” Griffin said.
Griffin has taken on many other challenges and projects in the kitchen, such as making pastries for hotels, but he says the most challenging trial he faces is raising three sons in the LDS Church as a single parent.
“I remember my dad working long hours, usually 14- to 16-hour shift,” said Preston Griffin, Griffin’s oldest son from Provo. “But during the little time he had off, he spent it with us.”
Despite his busy life, Preston said his father was always there for them and always put family first. Griffin took his sons on fishing trips and every Tuesday, he would play basketball with them at the church.
“He was our coach no matter what sport we played,” Preston said. “He dedicated his life to providing a comfortable life for us.”
Griffin even used his time at home to practice new recipes on his sons. If they didn’t like it he tossed the idea out, but if they liked it then he knew he would use it. The one meal that was always a winner in the Griffin house was soul food: collard greens, peas, sweet potato pie, cornbread and one-pot meals.
“I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage,” Griffin said.
Griffin grew up in the college town of Hattiesburg, Miss., where Brett Favre started as the quarterback and Griffin’s first cousin is mayor of the city. Griffin has been in Utah for the last 25 years and is now starting his own legend by being the first member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in his family.
He said his conversion to the Church didn’t come all at once; it came in stages. He first heard about the Church in Atlanta from a friend, and a couple of years later he came to Utah to visit.
“Church wasn’t on my mind at the time and I drove by the Missionary Training Center and I felt something,” Griffin said. “I didn’t know what it was, but it was good.”
Griffin was later invited by his friends to take the missionary discussions and was baptized a member of the LDS Church in 1984.
“I became a new person at heart,” Griffin said.
Griffin is learning how to use Facebook, and he often puts spiritual thoughts, messages and scriptures as his status. His son said it’s a subtle way for his dad to share his testimony with his family as the only member of the Church.
As Griffin learns to pick up the new ways of technology and share it with his family, he’s still learning new things in the kitchen and sharing his talents with each customer waiting in line.