Like Nowhere Else: An Interview with Chef Will Rogers

Staff Writer
Like Nowhere Else: An Interview with Chef Will Rogers

Photo by Jennifer Cao

If you’ve been on the College Park campus lately I’m sure you’ve noticed we’ve got a food truck roaming the campus every day. Beginning just last semester, Green Tidings food truck started serving the Maryland student body some really delicious bites. The fact that students were getting something other than standard dining hall food was enough to make it a hit, but the fact that the man behind the whole operation was also a trained chef made things all that much better.

The Green Tidings food truck prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients in order to be as sustainable as possible. The University of Maryland promotes the concept of sustainability throughout the campus and through the food truck Maryland students are able to get a first-hand understanding of this. Chef Rogers has geared the food truck to be sustainable while bringing its community great food made from scratch. Avoid the greasy fast food and take a break from the dining hall. You’re gonna want to hunt down the food truck to get a taste of what everyone at Maryland has been talking about because the food is like nowhere else.

Hint, hint. Check your Twitter and Facebook newsfeed for locations because Green Tidings is always on the move. #likenowhereelse

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Photo by Jennifer Cao

SPOON: What motivated you to make the switch from a traditional college experience to enrolling in one of the most prestigious culinary schools at the Culinary Institute of America?

ROGERS: I enjoyed my time at Penn State studying computer science but I’ve always wanted to cook. I decided to take a cooking job in Baltimore over the summer and fell in love with culinary. I stayed in that job until I enrolled at CIA December 2001.

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Photo by Jennifer Cao

SPOON: What inspired you to start up a food truck on the UMD campus?

ROGERS: I was looking for a way to showcase more of our cuisine to the UMD campus. My boss, Abbott Albright, came up with the idea of starting a food truck. I love restaurants and I’m grateful I was allowed to build this restaurant from the ground up. So many people were involved in getting this project off the ground: maintenance team, marketing, sustainability office, DOTS, dining services directors’ office and many others.

SPOON: What makes the food truck different from the other types of food being served on campus?

ROGERS: The food truck shares the same vision as Good Tidings Catering. Since we only serve 300 people per day we can push the limit with creativity and presentations. We are trying to fit a niche of local or sustainable cuisine that high volume dining halls may not be able to achieve.

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Photo by Jennifer Cao

SPOON: I know that sustainability and using local ingredients has always been important to you. What influences did you have in making this a part of the way you cook?

ROGERS: As I’ve grown in my career I’ve been exposed to working directly with farmers and understand better where the food I purchase comes from. I feel it is important for a chef to fully understand where his food comes from.

SPOON: What type of food do you want to serve UMD students?

ROGERS: Green Tidings Mobile strives to serve fresh edgy cuisine in a timely fashion. We are proud we change our menu every 2 weeks and only a minimal of menu items will repeat from the fall & spring semester. We focus on seasonality and pushing our staff to create better menus as time goes on. Not everyone can experience our cuisine through Good Tidings Catering – it’s nice our student body can taste our cuisine through Green Tidings Mobile.

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Photo by Jennifer Cao

SPOON: What are your plans for the future? Anymore food trucks coming in the future?

ROGERS: We keep that information pretty close to our chests. You will have to wait and see. As stated before – I’m trying not to repeat too many menu items so the students can taste different items and not get bored with us.

SPOON: What is your favorite dish to make?

ROGERS: I’m proud the lamb shoulder sandwich has gone over so well. Our warm donuts w/ pastry cream is my favorite tasting dessert we’ve done so far.

SPOON: What are some of your guilty pleasures?

ROGERS: I have a sweet tooth – I love good pastries and ice cream. Outside of cooking I spend my time and money improving my golf game. It’s a great way for me to relax on my day off.

SPOON: What is your culinary vision? What do you want to express through your food?

ROGERS: I think my team and I create a fresh, modern & edgy cuisine.  I like the product to speak for itself – I don’t like masking food with too many spices in one dish.  I love challenging my team and myself to constantly come up with new dishes to serve on the truck so we don’t become stagnant or boring. Of-course we’ll bring back some best sellers eventually but we’ve only been open for 9 months – it’s too early for that!

Check out the Chef’s blog to get the latest news on the food truck and upcoming menus at http://umdgreentidings.com/

And follow Green Tidings Food Truck on Facebook and Twitter:

https://twitter.com/UMDGreenTidings

https://www.facebook.com/UMDGreenTidings

The post Like Nowhere Else: An Interview with Chef Will Rogers originally appeared on Spoon University. Please visit Spoon University to see more posts like this one.

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