Notre Dame Chef Wins National Culinary Competition

Author: Molly Moran

Charu 3Chef Pant prepares his award winning dish.

Charu Chandra Pant, chef at the University of Notre Dame, was awarded first place in the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) National Culinary Challenge. The competition took place on July 14, 2016 at the NACUFS national conference in Anaheim, California. The Culinary Challenge recognizes outstanding food preparation and presentation skills in collegiate dining services. 

The competition took place in front of a live audience of college and university foodservice managers and suppliers. The six competing chefs were gold medal winners from their respective regional competitions which took place in the spring. Competitors were required to incorporate the featured ingredients to include red rice, edamame, and black kale. Chef Pant won the challenge and gold medal with his dish, "Himalayan Bowl: Seared Lamb with Red Rice Pilaf, Sauteed Black Kale, Tourneed Turnips with Sweet Tomato Sauce, Cucumber Mint Raita and Rich Tomato Shorba.”

Chef Pant has been a part of the University of Notre Dame’s Campus Dining team since 2007.  He currently serves as executive chef for the University’s South Dining Hall, one of the two dining halls on campus. He had been the test kitchen chef as well as retail executive chef at the University before moving to South Dining Hall.

Before joining Notre Dame, Chef Pant worked for hotel restaurants including Webster in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Stone’s Throw in Washington, DC and several hotels in his native India. He holds an associate’s degree in culinary management and a certificate in baking and pastry from Grand Rapids Community College as well
as a degree from the Hotel Management Institute in India.