Introducing Chef Toby: The Adventurer

"You have to make food fun, tasty, and interesting."

For Chef Toby, all paths have led to food, whether it was catering as a side job in college or managing a small coffee shop after attending culinary school. 

Here’s more on a chef with a true appetite for food and life:

What’s something people wouldn’t know when they meet you? I recently became a US citizen. I’m actually from England. (He has no accent!)

Favorite food? Ribs

Favorite thing to cook/bake? Braised dishes

Best thing about working with Tufts Dining? It’s interesting, enjoyable, and allows me to have a life outside of work versus working crazy hours in a restaurant.

We hear you love eating weird things, what are some of the weirdest things you’ve ever eaten? I once ate a dish at a sushi bar in Tokyo in which the shrimp were still alive! I’ve also tried sheep brains, they’re like fluffy clouds of meat.

Best memory while working with Tufts Dining? In catering, I’ve had the opportunity to feed Michael Pollan and Dan Barber—both liked my food. Dan Barber even commented specifically on a dish I cooked, that was pretty cool!

Do you cook a lot at home? Yes, I cook a lot for my family. I have two kids, so I enjoy creating dishes that they’ll have a fun, interactive experience with while eating. My wife and I try to stay away from mass produced items and cook as much as we can. Our kids (who are 7 and 5 years old) just learned what a McDonald’s is!


Introducing Chef Peter: The Innovator

"We always want to make it a pleasurable experience for everyone." 

The son of a Mediterranean cruise ship chef, Chef Peter has found true enjoyment working with food. First in the Carmichael kitchen and often the last to leave, Chef Peter has a passion for food, which he’s used to transform our dining centers. From inventing the beloved Carmichael Chef’s Challenge to constantly coming up with new dishes to delight our palates, he’s an innovator at heart with a real dedication to improving our dining center experience. We sat down with Chef Peter to hear from the innovator himself and learn more about the man behind Carmichael’s food.

What’s something people wouldn’t know when they meet you? I love movies and music. I play the guitar, and I studied acting at Emerson College.

Favorite food? Tuna done sashimi

Favorite thing to cook/bake? Jambalaya, I have a recipe I perfected in college. 

Best thing about working with Tufts Dining? There are so many positives… I think the best thing is probably my cooks, they’re great and very easy to get along with. We also love working with students; it keeps us young!

Best memory while working with Tufts Dining? This is such a great place to work… I have too many! I remember when the burrito bar and bananas foster were introduced…  Every special themed dinner we’ve had… There are just too many, and our daily interactions with students and student managers are great too.

Do you cook a lot at home? I do about half of the cooking at home. My wife is a good cook, and she learned to cook different things and in a different manner than I did so we have a nice variety at home!

To read more about Chef Peter and our other chef bloggers, scroll through the About page of this blog.


Introducing Chef Justin: The Connoisseur

"Everything needs to taste good."

Chef Justin knew food was in his future since he was in high school. After completing a culinary internship at the Walt Disney World Resorts, and later attending college, Chef Justin went on to graduate from culinary school and work for three different James Beard Award-winning Chefs. His love of food doesn’t end when the clock hits 5PM, he is a food connoisseur who constantly reads cookbooks and checks out culinary iPhone Apps!

What’s something people wouldn’t know when they meet you? I have three stars in every level of Angry Birds… I am addicted to Angry Birds.

Favorite food? Peanut butter, I eat it by the spoonful. It’s my kryptonite.

Favorite thing to cook/bake? Vegetarian food, even though I’m not a vegetarian. I love it because it’s a challenge—you have to make something delicious and creative without a showcase piece, which is generally your meat item. Plus, my wife’s a vegetarian, and a picky one at that!

Best thing about working with Tufts Dining? It allows me to have a rewarding culinary job while seeing my boys. I have two kids, one is just a year old and the other is 4.

Best memory while working with Tufts Dining? We had to cater the Tufts Culinary Society event where 3 big internationally known chefs visited. The night before the big day, we messed up the quiche dough and had to come to work early the next morning and work extremely hard to make it in time. It was challenging and made me work harder than I’ve ever worked with Tufts Dining.

Being the Tufts Dining Connoisseur, do you watch any great food shows? I have two young children. So I don’t really have time to watch the television. I did watch Top Chef on Bravo. The first season and the Vegas season were my favorite. Actually, Toby and I have both seen our classmates on Top Chef!

To read more about Chef Justin and our other chef bloggers, scroll through the About page of this blog.


Introducing Chef Joann: The Pioneer

"Eating is a huge part of feeling at home."

Though Chef Joann grew up next door to one of the best culinary institutes in America, she didn’t discover her calling in food until later in life. Lover of the Food Network and hole in the wall restaurants, there’s no greater pleasure for Chef Joann than discovering a great new restaurant. She even planned a road trip from Boston to Tennessee with the only stops in the agenda being restaurants featured in Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives!

What’s something people wouldn’t know when they meet you?  
I’m currently re-dating my boyfriend from when I was sixteen—we found each other on Facebook!

Favorite food?
I know it’s so basic, but I can’t help it: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!!

Favorite thing to cook/bake?
Roasted chicken dinner, it just fills the house with a delicious scent.

Best thing about working with Tufts Dining?  It’s a nice atmosphere to work in, I especially enjoy working around young people. I used to work at the kitchen in a hospital and had a team of high schoolers working with me and I loved it!

Best memory while working with Tufts Dining?
I can’t think of just one, I just think of us all laughing—we’re always laughing ‘till we’re crying! We recently got music in Dewick.  And at night, when we’re cleaning up, sometimes we put on Italian music and the ladies at the front, I call them my little Italian Mommas, they get so happy—that may be my favorite!

As the pioneer of little-known restaurants, what has been your greatest discovery?
When my boyfriend and I went on our Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives road trip, we couldn’t find a DDD stop in West Virginia, so I did a little research and I found a tiny place only known to the locals called Blue Grass Kitchen. It was amazing! I had a cheeseburger with homemade pimento cheese!

To read more about Chef Joann and our other chef bloggers, scroll through the About page of this blog.


Introducing Executive Chef Fred: The Champion Food Artist

"We live in a fast paced society. We tend to lean towards fast and easy processed foods. Slow down and get back to basics." 

Executive Chef Fred grew up with five brothers in a family that believed everyone should help out so he was forced to learn his way around the kitchen at an early age. Since then, he’s won the gold at National Association of College & University Food Service competitions, cooked an inordinate amount of holiday dinners for over 28 guests, and been to Germany on cooking competitions.

Check out our interview with Tufts’ own Chef-Artist:  

What’s something people wouldn’t know when they meet you?
I love the outdoors. I have a place in the White Mountains, and I go hiking with my daughter all the time.

Favorite food? Comfort foods like Smoked Shoulder

Favorite thing to cook/bake?
Here, I enjoy making Filet Mignon with different sauces. At home, I love making braised short ribs with pasta (made from scratch) and Swiss chard.

Best thing about working with Tufts Dining?
We’re like a family. People work here for many years and get to really know each other and Tufts. I’ve been working here for 26 years and there are people who have been here longer than I have!

Best memory while working with Tufts Dining?
We served Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Bobby Orr (Bruins hockey player). Bill Clinton was unforgettable, he got here earlier than we expected and all of Gifford house, dining included, was on lockdown. He came back and asked for a second dessert!

Do you cook a lot at home?
Yes, I do about 95% of the cooking. My wife “forgot” how to cook after we got married! The other 5% is done by my daughter, she’s learning how to cook from me.

To read more about Executive Chef Fred and our other chef bloggers, scroll through the About page of this blog.