Students on the meal plan can learn how to cook their favorite dishes and the secrets to cooking healthy through the Caf’s Chef’s Corner program. Head Chef Spencer Tan teaches BYU-Hawaii students the secrets of cooking and eating healthy while they attend college.
“We started Chef’s Corner to help the students and educate them to be better cooks,” said Tan. “When they come to school, they need to become well rounded. The main point is to educate students on how to cook.”
With the busy lifestyle college students live, eating healthy is something that is often overlooked, he said. It becomes so much easier to eat snacks and pre-packaged food as opposed to sitting down to a good healthy meal. Chef Tan gave his opinion on the matter when he said, “I’ve seen a lot of off-campus students that all they cook is Ramen, Ramen, and Ramen. They buy it pre-packaged and just add on the seasoning. It ruins the flavor, and puts bacteria in your intestines. We need to teach them to eat healthier. When you eat Ramen it’s okay, but you need to enrich it with vegetables or get some meat in there.”
Chef Tan further said knowing how to cook helped him in his younger years. “I went on a mission, and I’m the one who did all the cooking. All my missionary friends said, ‘I’ll do the dishes, if you cook.’ We want to teach students how to cook before they go on a mission. Most of the people on the meal plan are freshman, so we need to teach them how to cook and educate them. Even if you don’t go on a mission, you’ll want to be able to stretch out when you move off campus.”
Another reason why students have a hard time eating healthy is because they have a fear of cooking. “People have a fear of cooking,” Tan said. “They say, ‘Oh no! I can’t. I’m scared.’ At Chef’s Corner we show you how easy it is to cook so you can venture more with it. You need to get over your fear of cooking. After each dish you cook you get braver and eventually overcome your fear.”
In the near future, the time of Chef’s Corner may change to be held later in the evening, in hopes to allow more students to attend, but for now it will be held every other Tuesday in the Caf from 4 to 5 p.m.