New chef brings worldwide experience to ACU's food services


For immediate release
Nov. 12, 2001

Abilene Christian University can now literally give students a small taste of what to expect before they go out and try to change the world. Gary Tharp, the new executive chef for ACU's cafeteria and on-campus restaurant Reservations Only, has added a wide variety of international dishes to the menu based on his past experiences as a chef all over the world.

Before coming to ACU in August, Tharp was executive chef on a European cruise ship, worked for the Disney Corporation in Tokyo and most recently taught culinary arts at the Institute of Art in Los Angeles, Calif. He also has cooked for U.S. presidents Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter as well as the pope.

Tharp moved to ACU after taking a job with ARAMARK, the university's food service company, and wanting to live closer to his family in San Antonio. The new chef said he has particularly enjoyed working with students since relocating to ACU.

"I'm really committed to doing things for the students," Tharp said. "It's more of a stewardship than a job for me." Since taking over the Bean, ACU's cafeteria, Tharp has prepared dishes from places such as Paris, Rome and Istanbul, Turkey. He said providing meals from such varied cultures has many benefits for students.

"It gives them a wider horizon to different things," Tharp said. The chef said he has gotten a positive response concerning the menu changes, as well as additions such as brunch every Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Bean.

Tharp, who has been a certified executive chef for 21 years, also is working on an 18-foot tall gingerbread house to be displayed in the Bean starting on Nov. 28. His other cooking specialties include chocolate statues, cocoa paintings and cheese carvings.

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Last update: Nov. 12, 2001

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