UH Dining Chef Chad McDonald Wins Regional Cooking Competition

chad mcdonaldUniversity of Houston Dining Services Chef Chad McDonald earned the top spot at the National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) 2023 Culinary Challenge for the Southern region.
McDonald wowed the judges with his Wonton Char Siu Noodle Soup, which will be featured at Moody Dining Commons later this month.

With the win, McDonald will now compete this summer in the national competition at the NACUFS 2023 National Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, where he’ll face the winners of the Continental, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Northeast, and Pacific Region.

For McDonald, winning gold meant taking care of unfinished business from the NACUFS 2022 Culinary Challenge, where he took bronze.

“To be able to go from bronze to gold in that period of time, I’m pretty proud,” said McDonald.
The chef learned a lot from last year’s competition that helped him in 2023, including pre-measuring his ingredients and asking the judges plenty of questions.

McDonald’s winning dish - Wonton Char Siu Noodle Soup - will also be the dish he cooks in nationals, but with some alterations based on the judges' critiques.

With nationals on the horizon, McDonald said the competition is weighing heavily on his mind. He wakes up thinking about his dish and adjustments he will make to perfect his gold-winning regional dish.

“I am extremely competitive,” said McDonald. “I’m passionate about cooking, and to be able to win at nationals and get that title and bring that home to UH is quite exciting.”