Welcome to Chef’s Corner! Your monthly source for all things dining. Plus, hear from our team members - their favorite recipes, products to work with, and more!


Follow along with us as we keep you updated on dining news, special events, new products and vendors, FAQ’s, and things to love about your cafes!

Twin Maple Farms’ Lehigh Valley Gold Potato fields

Did you know? 

Seasonal (and local!) ingredients are the inspiration for each menu our chefs write. Our Locally Crafted program supports small food businesses that focus on environmentally friendly ingredients, socially responsible hiring practices, and other values we champion. Twin Maple Farms, one of our Farm2Fork Partners, owned by the Hunsicker Family,  provides all of our kitchens with Lehigh Gold Potatoes, grown especially for Lafayette Dining. In 2021, we served 82,724 pounds of potatoes prepared in all shapes and sizes – that is  2.4 acres of potatoes!  

Coming up this month

Monday 2/7: Upper Farinon is spotlighting a Pasta Bar during dinner – check out a variety of pasta options and sauces 

Sunday, 2/13: Championship Sunday – enjoy your favorite tailgate foods at Upper Farinon for lunch before you watch The Big Game

The Trolley Stop is now featuring a “totchos” special – crispy tater tots topped with apple-braised pulled pork, cheese, and pico de gallo. Available for a limited time!

Monday, 2/14: Happy Valentine’s Day! Marquis is hosting a special Valentine’s themed lunch. Stop by Upper Farinon during lunch and enjoy a chocolate fountain with all the fixings (yes, you read that right- if you love chocolate, we’ll see you there),followed by an Anti-Valentine’s dinner.

Skillman’s Cafe is hosting a “Heartfelt Happy Hour” on 2/14 from 2pm-4pm. Purchase any size hot chocolate, and get a tall hot chocolate for free.

New smoothie alert – Eco Cafe is featuring “Love Potion.” A blend of strawberries, yogurt, skim milk, and white chocolate sauce.

A quick Q &A with Chef John Soder, Campus Executive Chef 

Q: How did your upbringing influence your career in food?

A: My Mom later on in my career was a big influence on me, as she is an outstanding cook. I grew up in the country where we tended a very large garden with tons of different crops. All summer we would make big family dinners with fresh items we picked earlier in the day. That family connection to food has stuck with me for years and I often reflect on the significance of those meals and how I have the ability to make some of those same types of memories for people now.

Chef John at LaFarm

Q: How did you get your start in foodservice?

A: Honestly, I kind of fell into it. I was 16, just got a car and some of my friends were washing dishes at a local restaurant. They got me a job doing dishes too, hey I had to pay my car insurance somehow. The Chef was a graduate from the CIA, the same Culinary School I ended up going to. He noticed I liked helping in the kitchen when I was caught up on dishes. The Chef started showing me how to do things, and the rest is history!

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not cooking?

A: I love doing yard work and taking care of my house, camping, and going to stock car races. Believe it or not, a nice relaxing day at home often involves cooking. Making bread all day, homemade jam, pickling something, making hot sauces, or home brewing. It is nice to be able to make something I enjoy eating without the pressure of deadlines and 100’s of people.

Q: What’s your favorite recipe?

A: Hard question, there are bunches. Some of the things I enjoy making the most are homemade pretzels, gnocchi, pierogi, anything with venison, or just a plain old grilled steak on a Saturday night.

Q: If you could give a younger version of yourself a piece of advice, what would it be?

A: Stay humble, you are only as good as your last meal.

Dining Safety Tip of the Month

While inside dining halls and cafés on campus, whether you’re picking up a grab-and-go order, or sitting down for a meal, we ask that all our guests continue to practice proper hand-washing etiquette.

What is the Right Way to Wash Your Hands? 

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap. 
  2. Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. 
  3. Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice. 
  4. Rinse your hands well under running water. 
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them. 

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used in addition to hand washing. However, they should not be used as a substitute for washing with soap and water. 

Our staff will continue cleaning and sanitation schedules. This includes frequent disinfection of high-touch surfaces, including wiping down tables and seats between guests and disinfecting all highly touched areas such as door handles.


Questions? Feel free to reach out to us at dining@lafayette.edu