New Executive Chef Inspired by Travel, Street Vendors, Mom’s Home Cooking

Executive Chef Parvinder Singh with temporary employee Tyler McJilton and Joyce Burwell, First Cook

Executive Chef Parvinder Singh, left, with temporary employee Tyler McJilton and Joyce Burwell, head chef.

One of the newest members of the Syracuse University community is also one who will have a great impact on students, or at the very least, their appetites. As executive chef, Parvinder Singh will oversee the creation of meals and menus at dining centers across campus.

“I absolutely love everything having to do with food service,” says Singh. “It was my calling.”

Singh received his associates degree in culinary art from Delhi University in India and participated in several training programs at the Culinary Institute of America. He has had experience working in the university food services industry at the University of Oklahoma, the University at Buffalo and, most recently, Cornell University.

“I have designed concepts and built restaurants, and became involved in the university level of food service in 1997,” says Singh. “It’s my favorite environment. It’s the most meaningful to me.”

Among his inspirations are travel, which he says, “is the easiest way to inspire the palate as a chef.” Singh is quick to add that “The humble guy cooking on the street, or a home-cooked meal by the mom of a friend or associate is what gives me the most inspiration. It’s incredible to watch someone unassuming doing something absolutely brilliant with food and flavor.”

Including our students. One of them will get the chance to cook their favorite dish with Executive Chef Singh as part of a contest run by Food Services. Students are being asked to submit their favorite recipe, with the winner having the opportunity to prepare the dish alongside Singh at one of the campus dining centers. Contest forms can be found at

Five questions for Executive Chef Parvinder Singh:

Q: What do you like about working in the college/university food service environment?

A: The college/university circuit is a lot of fun. The energy is high. There are traditions and seasons within each university that make the years more and more meaningful going along. It’s very easy to become attached to the client base and the personalities present on campus.

Q: What is your favorite food to cook or bake?

A: I love roasting, or any other process that slowly draws out the essence of flavor. I love using herbs, oils and infusions to deepen and accentuate the beauty that is naturally present in the food itself.

Q: What do you feel you are best at?

A: Giving. I give my greatest effort to what I do. It’s a heart and soul thing. You can’t beat giving something your absolute best.

Q: What is your greatest accomplishment in the food and service industry?

A: Discovery. It’s an ongoing process. Food is the art of exploration. Exploration leads to discovery. The ability to learn, grow and share is the meaning of life. I use the kitchen in order to express this. Being able to express this in a meaningful way, and to share it with others, this is my greatest accomplishment.

Q: Do you have any plans for Syracuse University Food Service?

A: Of course, we all add our individual touch as a team effort. I’m excited about making contributions to the Syracuse University Food Service program. It’s an excellent program. I look forward to being a part of the process here.

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