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One On One
Lehigh University Sodexo Executive Chef John Hynes was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and grew up mostly in Jamaica, where he embraced cooking as a truly vital part of culture.

One On One: Lehigh University Sodexo Executive Chef John Hynes says yes to flavor, no to drama

We talk about campus life as we emerge from the pandemic, Jamaican food like oxtail and dumplings, how college students’ eating habits are evolving and how a dining team can keep it together and even thrive during stressful times. One secret? No drama.

In this edition of Food Management’s podcast, Chef John Hynes talks about his campus’s commitment to sustainability and eating local, even throughout the pandemic. He also talks about keeping things interesting with events like “virtual vacation” and other outside-the-box ideas he and his team have put together. Looking ahead to new semesters, “we’re planning to go full force,” he says.

We also spoke to Hynes about his origins as a chef and the finer points of Jamaican food, including cooking with oxtail. He shares his perspective about how college students’ tastes are evolving, and how he’s kept his team flexible and motivated. “I’m not into the drama and all the nonsense,” he says, “I’m always trying to be optimistic. I communicate with my staff as much as possible…we do huddles every day, but you’re still going to have your ups and downs.”

Hynes also told us he’s been experimenting with Jamaican-Asian fusion and the “love of this business” is what really inspires him. “I don’t like to be complacent,” he says.

Contact Tara at [email protected]

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