13 Meals My Sorority Chef Makes Better Than My Mom

13 Meals My Sorority Chef Makes Better Than My Mom

Shoutout to Chef Chris and Chef Tony for taking care of us.
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There are lots of exciting pros to living in your sorority house. With the combination of a fun atmosphere plus 50 or so of your closest friends, it's basically a slumber party every night.

However, one fancy concept that is really exciting, but a little nerve-wracking, is having a chef making all your meals. Since there are horror stories out there, after being spoiled with unlimited options it might seem like a scary jump from a campus meal plan to putting all of your trust in one or two people. For myself, I'm as picky as it gets so I was wondering how things would turn out. (First world problems, am I right?)

Luckily, in my sorority house we've been blessed with the best by Chef Chris and Chef Tony. Here's a few of the amazing meals they've made for us over the past two semesters.

1. Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches

Our chefs love to put twists on classic dishes. This one was delicious as well as photogenic.

2. Chicken Cordon Bleu Wraps with Sweet Potato Fries

Whenever we aren't able to make it back in time for a meal, we can request late plates. Who knew food in a to-go box could look so good?

3. Flatbread (or Regular) Pizza

When we have pizza, we have three or four options. Between mouthwatering choices such as buffalo chicken, pepperoni, and white tomato-basil, everyone is usually pleased.

4. Chicken 'n Waffles

Still to this day I'm not sure I've had tastier chicken than I did this evening. In addition to regular syrup we had jalapeño syrup for an extra kick!

5. Eggs Cooked to Order

On Fridays, those who get up early enough to make it to breakfast can have eggs any style they want. Whether it's an omelette, scrambled with cheese, over easy, fried, or even poached, our chefs can do it all!

6. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

When it started to get cold outside, we were greeted with delicious soups to warm us back up from our walk home from class. This classic pairing had us all running to get to the dining room.

7. Grilled Salmon Puff Pastry with Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Sweet Potato Soufflé

Before this year, had someone given me this description for a meal I would've cringed a little bit. However, this meal was as good as it looked.

8. Burger Bar

The salad bar was available every day, but on some days we'd have the option of customizing our own burger, sub, or panini with an array of toppings that could please even the pickiest of eaters. (Hint: If you're like me and prefer grilled chicken sandwiches to burgers, you can use the chicken off the salad bar!)

9. Salmon with Cous Cous and Asparagus

Doesn't cous cous sound fun? It's a favorite in the house that most of us hadn't tried until this year.

10. Salmon Cakes with Wild Rice

I don't know many people that are capable of making salmon cakes, but it was a breeze for Chef Chris. We had a "cravings lists" that we were allowed to write anything on, and if he could do it he would try to work it into the schedule.

11. Parmesan Crusted Chicken, Sautéed Spinach, and Spaghetti Squash

This was one of the meals that was completely inspired by our "cravings list" we filled out every week, and it did not disappoint.

12. Breakfast Bar

A picture can't do it justice but for those that never could wake up in time for Chef Chris' amazing breakfast, this night was a blessing.

13. DESSERT!

Here's just two of the many scrumptious desserts we've had this year. The Zucchini cupcakes were a personal favorite of mine.

If a picky eater like me can be happy, you will be too!

However, no one is ever going to top my mama's spaghetti.

Cover Image Credit: Kristin Kuehn

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I'm The Customer That Doesn't Always Tip 20 Percent

I can be your best friend or your worst nightmare, but it depends on YOU.
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As a server, I fully understand that myself, and others like me, make a living off of our tips.

I know how nice it is to get a $50 tip and how frustrating it is to get merely change when you did everything you could to make the unpleasable table happy. I am well aware that an acceptable tip is anywhere from 15-20% and I typically tip way over that.
However, I can easily say that there have been times where I have tipped anywhere from 5-15%. In these times, the tip was well deserved...or not deserved.

As before mentioned, I am a server, bartender, and part-time restaurant manager. It is safe to say that I know the business quite well. This makes me aware of the tipping process and what is deemed acceptable, but it also makes me aware of what a serving job entails. We are, without a doubt, the worst critics when we are out to eat. We noticed everything you did or didn't do and we timed how long it took to get our drinks -- it's just in our blood.

We also notice if you are genuinely good at your job, or if you are just there to be there.

The key point to any serving job is knowledge. I, as a customer, expect you to be able to answer almost all of my questions. If I ask you something absurd like "exactly where was your lettuce grown?" ....Like what the f****? Who knows that? But when I ask what beers you have on draft, or what all comes on a salad, I expect you to know it. If you don't, I dock it off your tip. No, it's not mean, it's you not holding up your end of the deal when you started this job.

I know that sometimes you get busy and it's hard to cater to someone's every need, but I do expect my refills in a timely manner and would also expect you to check back with me shortly after I get my food to make sure everything tastes good. I feel like that all is just common sense. If I have to wait for five minutes with an empty glass before I even have the chance to call you over, that's going to affect your tip. If you never check up on me after I get my food, guess what, I take it off your tip. If something goes wrong in the kitchen or you forgot to put my order in, do not avoid me. Tell me. I know how hard it is to tell a table that you are the one who screwed up their experience, but it is so much better to be honest and shows more about your integrity than by saying, "I don't know, the kitchen lost your ticket. There was a computer malfunction and then things caught fire. The firemen had to come and put it out, and then they found your ticket under the smoldering embers...so that's why your steak is five minutes late.".... Just tell me you got busy and it slipped your mind. I'm okay with that.

The worst one to me is when I see my server on her phone. I know that today's generation has some need to be in contact with everyone 24/7 and I have learned to accept that. But when I need something at my table, and you fail to notice because your girl friend just broke up with her boyfriend who cheated on her with his supposed best friend...I'm not going to be happy. You are here to work and this is your job. And, not to be conceded, but I come first. I am the one paying the bill that allows you to keep that phone your on in service, so make sure that I am happy before Samantha can't call you the next time shit hits the fan with Andrew. It's common sense.

Despite all of these, probably the number one thing I look for in a server is a positive attitude. We all have our own lives outside of work, and not to be cold, but I don't really care about yours. I am here for a nice dinner and a night out to not worry about my own crazy life let alone wonder about yours. As soon as you walk into work, the outside world needs to stay there. Do not be in a terrible mood because your girlfriend is psycho. Do not show the customer that you simply don't want to be at work. You don't want to be -- I don't tip you. Easy as that. If you engage in even a small conversation with me, I will tip you more than expected. I am extremely easy to please and really understanding.

I know that every place is different and every store/restaurant has different standards, but I the guest-service industry all lies on the same guidelines. The number one rule is to make the guest happy. I am not that guest who asks for the world from my server. Nor am I that guest who doesn't tip my server if my food came out overcooked or doesn't taste good. I know what lies on the server and what lies in other areas of the store. I know what they can and can't control.
As a customer, I can be your best or your worst, but that all lies on the service that I receive from YOU.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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Pho Fixes Everything

A bowl a pho keeps everything bad away.

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Pho might just be the best thing my taste buds have ever endured. If you haven't had pho, you're missing out. It's a Vietnamese soup, but it's not just any soup; it's the soup to my heart.

And no, this is not like ramen. It makes ramen look like random noodles in a bowl of water….yeah I know that's basically what it is, but you get the point.

Pho helps with everything. Having a bad day? Pho. Want to have 2 meals, one here and one to go? Pho. Bad break up? Pho. Need some emotional support? PHO IT UP.

Best part, there are so many options for pho. If you're vegetarian, no worries, there's pho for you. If you don't like spice, no worries! There's pho for you! If you love different kinds of meats… THERE'S PHO FOR YOU.

Please, everyone, just go get a bowl of pho and be happy. Doesn't matter if it's 100 degrees out or -13, pho is still amazing. You won't regret it.

Not going to lie, I'm craving it just from typing this.

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