Your Dining Hall Chefs
Meet the Chefs
Carrie Anderson - Executive Chef
Carrie Anderson is a graduate of Baltimore International Culinary College (currently Baltimore International College). Her career in the food service industry began with an obsession with flavors and cooking techniques that started at the age of nine. Over the last fifteen years Carrie has worked for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Dining Services program as a pastry chef for Catering, then a food service chef for residential dining and currently is the executive chef for residential dining. Carrie's commitment to the U of I's pledge of inclusivity has led her to create and facilitate Dining Services' annual Social Justice Training Program as well as facilitating the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations' award-winning Five Days for Change program. "The best thing I ever ate was from a colleague whose family owned a farm in Greece. They grew olives and made their own olive oil. The first spoonful I placed in my mouth almost had me in tears! I felt like I was tasting olive oil for the first time. It was so pure, fruity and fresh!"
Chris Szymanski - Ikenberry
Chris Szymanski earned his AAS at Robert Morris University and his BA in Culinary Arts from the New England Culinary Institute. Once a University of Illinois student, Chris left the U of I to pursue his passion for food. He worked his way through culinary school as a line cook at local restaurants. He returned to the Champaign-Urbana area upon graduation to begin working at Silvercreek Restaurant, where he became sous chef and six months later was promoted to executive chef. Chris joined the University Housing culinary team in 2010. After spending three years with University Catering, Chris then transitioned over to Residential Dining. Aside from his love of food, Chris spends his time with his wife and two young children. "The best thing I ever ate was Roasted Bone Marrow on Toast Points with Parsley and Caper Salad at Purple Pig in Chicago."
Megan Bugg - Ikenberry
Megan graduated in 2005 from Sullivan University in Louisville, KY with an Associate's of Science in baking and pastry arts. She worked at Kroger for 5 years in the bakery and was lead chef in the Chef Shoppe (a high-end deli). Megan started as an assistant pastry chef at the University of Illinois in 2010.
She loves creating fun and intricate works of pastry art. "The best thing I ever ate was Lobster Mac and Cheese from a small restaurant in Green Bay, WI. I think about it a lot!"
Beth Partenheimer - FAR
Beth received her culinary training at the Los Angeles Trade Technical College. She has worked in several restaurants in the St. Louis and Champaign areas. Beth stays active in the culinary field by participating in workshops and conferences, including the Culinary Institute of America in Helena, CA. Beth’s LAR team has taken two first-place honor and two third-place honors in the annual Dining Services Chefs’ Challenge. Beth also received a Bronze medal from the American Culinary Association, a Silver Medal with fellow teammates at the Taste of the World conference in 2014, and a Gold Medal for her Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna in 2014. "The best thing I have ever eaten would have to be fresh oysters. I like them cooked but prefer them raw. It takes me to the seashore."
Brenda Welch - LAR
Brenda attended the University of Illinois receiving a B.S. in Food and Nutrition. She served as a student food service worker at PAR. After college, she and two friends opened an upscale diner in Chicago. She also served as an executive chef at Zambrano’s, Elegant Edge, and Carlyn Berghoff Catering in Chicago. Brenda has been in Dining Services with University Housing for seven years. "The best thing I ever ate was a soft-shell crab sandwich I had at Buck Head Diner in Atlanta in the late 80s, early 90s. As a child of the Midwest, this delicacy was unknown to me until that very moment. The crunchy outside, the sweet buttery inside.. I will never forget that first bite of soft-shell crab."
SooHwa Yu - PAR
SooHwa was born in Seoul, Korea and moved to Champaign-Urbana in 1980. He started working in restaurants at 15, and later attended the Western Culinary Institute (La Cordon Bleu) in Portland, Ore. He graduated in 1997. SooHwa’s first position as qualified chef was at the Hyatt Regency, Chicago. He then moved on to the Hyatt McCormick Place in Chicago, managing the All Season Café and Stetson Chop House. He returned to Champaign-Urbana in 2001, and became employed by the University of Illinois as production chef in 2005 to present. "As a Korean-American chef, my most memorable event was at the Hyatt Regency where I planned the menus for a Korean Cultural Event, a celebration for over 300 people. In attendance was the Korean diplomat to the United States, who I was humbled to meet." And what was the best thing he ever ate? "The best thing I ever ate was Crispy Chicken Feet from an outdoor vendor in Korea, who was right outside of the train station. Sweet, sticky, and perfectly charred."
Adam Volk - ISR
Born and raised in Urbana, Adam has worked in the hospitality industry for 20 years. In addition to working at several local restaurants, he has worked in Chicago and New York City. Adam graduated from Kendall College with an AAS in Culinary arts and a BA in Food and Beverage Management. After graduating he returned home and was the sous chef of a popular downtown Champaign steakhouse. In 2009, Adam moved to New York City where he worked at Buddakan in Manhattan before moving to Astoria, Queens where he ran three popular neighborhood eateries. He now lives in Urbana and enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter, two dogs, and two cats, and watching Reds baseball. He doesn’t really want to talk about the latter. "The best thing I ever ate is tied between Hoisin Glazed Pork Belly Bao w/ Spicy Shallots & Cabbage or Duck Fat Fries!"
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