The executive chef for BYU’s Dining Services, John McDonald, was awarded the 2012 Utah Chef of the Year title by the Beehive Chef’s Association.
McDonald competed with three other chefs in a final competition that took place at the Salt Lake Marriott University Park. He finished strong, receiving the Utah Chef of the Year title, which is recognized by the American Culinary Federation, the largest professional chefs’ organization in North America.
According to BYU Dining Services, judges looked at the chef’s menu design, portion sizes, food safety, cooking technique and taste during the competition.
McDonald has worked for BYU Dining Services for six of his 24 years as a chef. He oversees all of the chefs and food organizations at BYU, including the Blue Line, the Commons, the Cougareat, the Creamery, Legends Grille, the Museum Cafe and the Skyroom. McDonald works hard to bring high-quality foods and recipes to students, missionaries and faculty.
“I am always setting goals,” McDonald said. “Networking with other schools and chefs is important for getting new ideas, and then we take bits and pieces and see how they work when we try them out here at BYU.”
According to Chris Justice, marketing manager for BYU Dining Services, BYU is among the best in the country when it comes to food.
“It’s in the top three of all the university food services in the country,” Justice said. “We’re definitely the largest in the state in regards to how many people we feed, and we are unique because we don’t serve coffee on campus or cook with wines.”
Chef John McDonald can often be found wearing his chef coat around campus. When asked if he wears it all the time he said he does.
“I do wear it all the time; I guess I don’t have to, but I do just because you never know when you have to jump in the kitchen,” McDonald said.
Justice said he was honored to work with Chef McDonald and that he has seen him fall in love with his work.
“He’s our Julia Child here on campus,” Justice said.