CSC alumnus stirs things up

Robert Johnston, a former Chadron State College student and a new chef at the CSC cafeteria, wrestles the meat while preparing the yankee pot-roast for today's lunch. — Photo by Vera Ulitina

Robert Johnston, a former Chadron State College student and a new chef at the CSC cafeteria, wrestles the meat while preparing the yankee pot-roast for today's lunch. — Photo by Vera Ulitina

A former Chadron State College student has returned to share his love of food.

Robert Johnston, a new addition to the CSC Dining Services staff, attended Chadron for three years, before dropping out and going to culinary school.

Johnston started at CSC with an excellent scholarship. However, he explained that when he started school he “…had no clue what [he] wanted.”

While taking classes at Chadron, Johnston got a job at the CSC cafeteria. The chef at the time was Roy Ferrans. Johnston explained that his love of cooking started while he was working in the cafeteria.

“Roy showed me that food can be something else, something more.” Johnston was interested in food and how it meant something to everyone. While he was working in the cafeteria, he started realizing how intimate food was.

He enjoyed his job in the cafeteria so much that he began skipping classes.

“I felt my position over here was more important than going to class,” says Johnston.

After Johnston realized that he liked cooking so much more than regular classes, he dropped out and looked into Culinary schools. He attended Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute in Scottsdale, Ariz., for two years, choosing Arizona because he had friends there. He graduated two years later with an Associate of Science degree in Culinary Arts.

Johnston worked a few years in Scottsdale at Olive Garden, although he said that he didn’t really like the area. He decided to come back to Chadron, explaining that he  “was so passionate for this place.” Originally from Hot Springs, S.D., he decided to come back to Chadron because it is close to home and family, and close to where his love for food began.

Johnston also said that he thought Chadron was the right place for him because the Dining Services were already familiar with him and his capabilities.

As for his favorite kind of food, he responds “I love all food. The more you understand food the more you appreciate it.”

Johnston explained that food is personal for everyone. His biggest influence is his mother, who cooked a lot of Old World German; however, he explains that he enjoys trying any food because food is something everyone can relate to.

Johnston also feels very strongly about getting more students to come to the cafeteria. He explained that he wants to hear student feedback and get more students to enjoy the food at the cafeteria, and enjoy eating at the cafeteria.

He also added that he would like to do demonstrations of his cooking for CSC students. “I want to get the students involved,” Johnston said.

Robert Johnston, a former Chadron State College student and a new CSC cafeteria chef, smiles while showing off his medal from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute. — Photo by Vera Ulitina

Robert Johnston, a former Chadron State College student and a new CSC cafeteria chef, smiles while showing off his medal from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute. — Photo by Vera Ulitina

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