Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass chefs make step-by-step cooking videos of popular recipes

“The idea is to make other people happy with our cooking”

Chefs at the University of Massachusetts have been making cooking videos for the community to follow so they can recreate their favorite dishes from the dining commons while at home.

Anthony “Chef Tony” Jung, executive chef of retail dining, explained how the project came to be.

“A lot of students were reaching out to us through email for the recipes of some of our dishes as they weren’t on campus,” Jung said. “When I was sending them out, I realized a few of them were not that easy to follow just by reading. They’d have around 40 to 50 really complicated steps that were too hard to understand so I thought, why not just make a video so it’d be easier to follow.”

Jung also explained what type of dishes they make and what it’s based on: “We try to go by what recipes people are asking for, but I tend to mix it up with my own personal recipes that I love to make for myself and even recipes that I feel like the students would be able to follow,” said the chef.

“Chefs don’t cook for themselves — they cook for other people,” said Jung. “The idea is to make other people happy with our cooking, and maybe even help them try out new things.”

Three chefs worked with the marketing team to publish these videos; Pamela “Chef Pam” Adams, director of bakery operations and executive pastry; Robert “Chef Bob” Bankert, executive chef of residential dining; and Jung. They would first record the videos on their own and then submit it to a team that would edit them and publish.

“[It was] just me at home recording on my own, and then I’d send it over to marketing where the interns would work on all the editing and putting in the introduction,” Jung said. “They’d send it to me again and I’d tell them if there were any small things they might’ve missed out on. Once all of that’s done, they post it.”

When he makes the cooking videos, Jung said he likes to keep them as natural as possible.

“I always tell [the editing team] to keep all the small errors I made in the video,” he said. “When the cardboard is shaking, or the garlic peel is going all over the place, or if it’s any other natural normal thing that happens in a kitchen, it makes it more authentic and helps whoever’s watching understand how it’s supposed to look when they do it themselves.”

“I honestly just feel proud,” he said. “I’m proud of everything dining’s come up with, I’m proud of all the food we’ve all been serving up and I’m proud of being able to do all of this for all these students.”

Arnav Kolli, a freshman computer science major, explained that UMass dining was an important part of the University to him: “Aside from their amazing computer science program, one of the biggest reasons why I committed to UMass was for their No. 1 dining,” he said.

“I was really upset when everything went remote, especially as I wouldn’t be able to eat any of this amazing food I heard so much about,” Kolli said. “When a friend told me about these videos, I was super excited to try them out.”

Kolli went on to speak about making one of the dishes from UMass dining’s videos: “I chose to make the chicken stir fry. It was really easy to make and so easy to follow,” he said. “My favorite part about making this dish was how simple the process was and how all the ingredients were easy to find.”

Kolli also expressed his excitement for the rest of the semester and future videos that the dining crew make.

“Even though I was annoyed with the situation at first, now that all these videos are there, I can’t wait to see what else the chefs come up with and try out more of their recipes in the near future,” he said.

Kolli hopes that the rest of the UMass community will try the recipes out as well because“the step-by-step instructions were super clear, so I’d definitely recommend everyone else at UMass to check them out.”

Marlene Navarro, director of marketing and communications at UMass Dining, explained the intended objectives of this video project.

“We are always looking for ways to connect with our students, [and] the UMass Dining YouTube series does just that,” she said. “It is meant to let students know [that] we will always continue to be a resource for them, even if it’s remotely.”

In addition to the emails that Jung mentioned, Navarro also explained how they reach out to students and find out what dishes they want: “We poll students in advance on social media asking them for their favorite recipes and have our amazing chefs bring them to life.”

Navarro plans to continue the cooking video project throughout the semester.

“During this time, we know a lot of people are spending more time at home and we wanted to bring them fun, new and exciting ways to stay interactive with our dining program. Students even tag us in their version of the recipes made at home,” she said. “The series has been incredibly successful.”

“During these challenging times, we know that food is the one thing that can bring us all together. UMass Dining is always looking for ways to be innovative and offer healthy, sustainable and delicious recipes to all. We hope you check out the series and encourage others to do so,” Navarro said.

The videos can be found here.

Mahidhar Sai Lakkavaram can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Mahidhar_sl.

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