Getting to know Chef Phill Rodgers

Chef Phill Rodgers is a new face in the dining room this year at YCDS. He shared more about his background and his plans for this school year during a brief interview.

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What made you want to become a chef?
Being a chef seemed like an exciting career that would allow be the please people. I’ve always liked to cook and becoming a chef allowed me to be creative.

What is your culinary background?
I went to culinary school in Florida. The school was called the Southeast Institute of Culinary Arts. After I graduated, I managed a retreat center for the Catholic Church in St. Augustine, FL. When I moved back to the area, I worked at the Accomac located in Wrightsville. Since then, I’ve worked at the Lancaster Country Club, the Country Club of York, The York Blue Moon, Artistic Foods Catering, and Chartwells. Most recently, I worked in the West Campus Dining Hall as the Executive Chef.

What is your favorite food?
My favorite thing to make is soup. I don’t have a favorite type of soup. I enjoy making them all. When it comes to the type of foods I like to eat, I really enjoy Asian cuisine such as pho and sushi.

What do you consider when creating the menu for YCDS?
The most important thing is that we are providing a nutritious meal for the students. My goal is to provide meals that are good for the body and brain so I stay away from processed foods. I also consider the age range of the students. We provide lunch for a diverse group of people and I try to make sure that the food we serve reflects that. I’ve found the students here are pretty open to trying new foods.

Speaking of new foods, do you plan to continue New Food Fridays?
Yes, beginning in October we will highlight a new food each first Friday of the month. I think New Food Fridays help to introduce our students to new foods and flavors that they can take home and share with their families.

Are there any other new things in store for lunches at YCDS?
My daughter is an art major at YCP. We talk a lot about the art of food. I’d like to find more ways to incorporate art in our meals. I would also like start a series called “Family Favorites.” I would ask the students to write down their favorite home-cooked meal and periodically we could replicate those recipes for the school. This might also allow us to feature some international meals that reflect the diversity of the students here.

What has been the most popular dish so far?
I’d say chicken tenders and macaroni and cheese have been the favorites so far.

The YCDS lunch menu is available on our website.