Positive changes at Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) are a common occurrence, and one of the most recent is the addition of Chef Christopher Snyder to Café Cleveland. An old hand in the kitchen, Snyder has been cooking since he was 16. After Chef Lee Killian moved on to another assignment for Treat America Food Services, the company was left with a vacancy at CUKC.
“I asked to come here,” Snyder said. “I knew Lee had put together a good location and I had heard great things about the team; Dale and Bianca. I was looking for a location that was high volume and would let me explore my creative ideas.”
At the helm of Café Cleveland just since the beginning of the spring term, he is already integrating his own changes into the food service at CUKC. Many of the favorite entrees will remain, but he will incorporate new items over time. He plans to have a menu that will include something for everyone.
“I plan to run a 50-50 healthy/comfort style menu,” Snyder said. “I grew up cooking comfort food, so country-fried steak, meatloaf, and chicken pot pie will find themselves on the menu from time to time.”
While some students crave the comfort foods, others are drawn to more healthy fare. Chef Christopher understands the importance of offering something light, which is why he will continue offering soups from scratch and fresh salads. Snyder said soups are “like second nature” to him and he loves making them. He also indicated that the salad bar will be upgraded to include some new items.
When it comes to keeping the food offerings healthy, Chef Christopher said his approach is all about fresh and natural.
“I don’t use canned vegetables,” Snyder said. “I will use frozen if fresh is over my budget, but I prefer fresh vegetables. Low sodium as well. A soup or a sauce doesn’t have to be filled with salt to taste good. Garlic, cumin, thyme, chili spice, etc., any of these with a pinch of kosher salt can give you a very flavorful soup.”
There is a certain amount of magic that take place in kitchens. Chefs can take an “unhealthy” dish and find ways to make it better without sacrificing taste. With the demand for healthy options, that spark of creativity is part of the job.
“I love fried food as much as the next guy, but I’ve learned that toasting some bread crumbs, coating your chicken breast in it, and then roasting in the oven gives it nearly the same texture as deep-fried chicken, but is healthier.”
Welcome to the Cleveland family Chef Christopher. We look forward to your many delicious kitchen creations!