Chef Brings New Flavors to Grambling Restaurant | South Florida Times

2021-11-13 05:41:55 By : Mr. sean wong

GRAMBLING, La. (Associated Press)-At the McCall restaurant at Grambling State University, a line of chefs' tables snakes through the building. The students, faculty and staff waited patiently for the opportunity to eat curry chicken, dried meat chicken, jollof rice, fried plantains, and more dishes provided by Chef Monday Thomas at lunch on October 26th.

Thomas from Lagos, Nigeria traveled the world to learn about the dishes and flavors of every country he visited. After years of sharing food through restaurants (including his own), he brings years of culinary expertise to Grambling students.

"I don't want to eat ordinary food," Thomas said. "This is very important to me."

Since assuming his new position, Thomas has brought fresh flavors and dishes to Grambling's restaurants, breaking the stereotype of plain, substandard cafeteria food.

The students, faculty, and staff also seem to have insufficient food. The long queues of students who wanted to try Thomas’ food on October 26 are one of a few examples of his short three months in the kitchen.

Thomas started his culinary journey in the UK as a college student. At that time, he studied marketing and purchasing while working in a local grocery store.

The "Talking Drum" was there. He occasionally flipped through the food magazine on the shelf, and a regular customer noticed it. In the end, the client asked Thomas to work for him at the Holiday Inn. From there, Thomas entered the kitchen and became a chef.

This job brought him to the United States, and later he studied culinary arts and food service management at Oklahoma State University. He joined the Culinary Federation of America and opened his own restaurant in Tulsa in 2004 called "The Talking Drum". This restaurant is the only restaurant in Oklahoma City that serves Caribbean and African cuisine, and his work won the Tulsa Food Award.

In addition to the United States, Thomas has also visited many countries around the world, including France, Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe. Every time Thomas goes to a new place, he will make sure to put on a chef's uniform, meet the chef where he eats, and remember their signature dishes.

Catfish and Crocodile Later, when he made his own dishes, he would add his own spices and flavors. Even when he came to Louisiana, he spent time researching local dishes and ingredients—catfish, alligators—and how to best play with them.

"As a chef, I have been inventing and creating," Thomas said. "Don't put me in the box."

After his restaurant closed in 2008, Thomas thought about teaching culinary arts, but realized that he was the best when he was busy in the kitchen. In the end, he said that he really wanted to open another restaurant, but he had settled down in Grambling and made food for everyone.

As he turned around in the kitchen, his attention was focused on the food. As he walked around in the cafeteria, he approached the students and anyone with a plate in his hand and asked, "What do you like to eat?"

Thomas said it was pleasant to see the long lines waiting to taste his food. For him, a mouth that satisfies Grambling's hunger is better than any money.

"I get pleasure from what you eat, how you feel," Thomas said. "I get happiness from it."

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