‘Chopped’ chef Ernest Servantes to visit Wilkes

Melissa Thorne, Correspondent

“I’m only good until the next meal I cook,” is not only the motto of Food Network’s “Chopped Grill Masters” champion Ernest Servantes, but also words he lives by.
Classically trained with 15 years of culinary, Servantes will be gracing Wilkes University with his southwestern, Texas BBQ flavors for two days only.  After having his food critiqued by some of the most well-known food critics and defeating worthy opponents for the title of Grill Master on national television, Servantes has proven to be a highly talented individual. The Sodexo chef will leave his Texas University kitchen to cook a five-course meal for 12 lucky students and their plus ones.
Students will first get to see the famous chef on Wednesday, Nov. 28, in the Student Center third floor cafeteria for a meet and greet. His personal sandwich recipes will be served during the meet-and-greet so students can get a preview of the chef’s cooking style that Wednesday night from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Twleve handpicked students and their guests will be invited for a private five-course menu tasting where they can have a more private session with the chef.
Participating students shouldn’t  feel bad if they aren’t selected for the private tasting because on Thursday, Nov. 29, Servantes will have his own station in the center of the cafeteria where all students will be able to get in on the possible once in a lifetime experience.
After being at Wilkes, Servantes will continue to make his way through to other states to continue to share his talents with other schools.
Kaden said he hopes students will take this opportunity seriously since it was by mere chance that the university was selected.
“I hope they see that Sodexo goes over and above to try and make things a little new, exciting and different,” Kaden said. “That’s what this program is about.”
The entire process that led to Servantes coming to Wilkes is a part of the Signature Chef Program in which Sodexo sends chefs out to different colleges as an expansion of culinary horizons.
Not only will students get to try something new and exciting, but the kitchen staff working alongside Servantes can hopefully pick up new recipe ideas that may become new lunch or dinner dishes.
Further accomplishments by Servantes include being featured on Destination America “BBQ Pit Masters” and competing in numerous “Taste of Town” competitions.
He also won three state BBQ titles and more than 100 wins in the past two years in BBQ cooking. As a member of the Texas Chef’s Association Culinary Federation and the World Association of Chefs Societies.