By Carl Legg
Students around Canisius are buzzing about the new Asian cuisine dining options. The updated menu at the dining hall has been a welcome, fresh change of pace for them this semester. What is even more impressive is the considerable amount of work that Tyree “Ty” Douglas, the individual responsible for the execution of the change, put into the new Asian Fusion Station.
Douglas has been working as a chef at Canisius for nine years, and all that work paid off with his first opportunity for involvement in a project this big. Working with the culinary team, they set out to find ways to improve the Canisius menu, but they did not know that they were going to create a Haiochi station when they first started. Even the idea took a lot of work. While John Tcychinski, the Director of Dining Services, worked with the Dining Services Committee on the concept, Douglas and the culinary team were analyzing local and national trends. Upon conclusion, they believed that the Haochi station could be greatly appreciated by students.
In fact, many do agree with this new dining development. John Cole, a junior at Canisius, said: “I am enjoying the new Chinese option as I think everyone is. I’m glad that Chartwells is investing in the students dining experience.” Douglas also personally described the feedback as “crazy good”. “[It] has exceeded my initial expectations by far, I thought it may take a few weeks to catch on but it just took off!” he proudly shared. It has been a privilege for him to see people come back and compliment the food as they are returning for dinner.
And the reception has been well-earned. Douglas commented about the amount of work that goes into planning these menus. “It’s not just opening a cookbook and copying a bunch of recipes. You have to do a lot of research, a lot of menu tasting (which I love), menu costing and menu mix to create variety,” he noted. Douglas went on to say that the average student does not realize how much work goes into the cooking. Describing it all as a fast and crazy business, he is constantly working at all hours of the day. This week he worked 68 hours over seven straight days. It is not easy to keep the many Canisius students well-fed, and in order for this type of challenging work to thrive, the passion that Douglas possesses is necessary.
The dining hall and Chartwell are not fully completed with improving the menu. While it is already Douglas’s and many others favorite course offered, he believes the Haiochi station is just a start. “Right now it is mostly what I would call ‘American Chinese’, sweet and sour chicken, beef and broccoli… things like that,” said Douglas. “I hope to have the menu adding a lot more Asian foods mixed in like Vietnamese, Thai and Korean.”
Those at Chartwell are hoping to build off of this initial rousing success. In fact, appropriately named “Haochi,” the word is actually Chinese for “delicious”. Chartwell, Douglas, and the other chefs at the Canisius Dining Hall deserve reassuring confirmation for the establishment living up to its name.