Whirlwind career brings new chef to campus – Low Calorie Diets Tips

Mike Feil’s work as a chef has taken him across the country – and back.

While Feil has worked in well-known destinations like Hawaii, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara, he’s also honed his craft in lesser-known locales, from a remote fisherman’s cabin near Alaska’s Yentna River to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Apalachicola, Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico.

But Feil is enjoying a homecoming of sorts after being hired as executive chef for CSUSM Dining, of which this is a part Campus Way Cafe, Cal State San Marcos’ new 8,000 square foot dining facility which will open in time for the fall semester on the first floor of The QUAD.

“I have an eclectic mix that covers not only Pacific food and American food, but Indian food and all other types of international food,” said Feil, who will also develop catering menus and oversee catering operations for campus events. “So there’s going to be quite a wide range.”

Working with food was a matter of course for Feil, which he learned to appreciate early on. His grandparents were bakers from Germany and he grew up on a small farm in Alpine, about 50 miles southeast of CSUSM. Growing up, he milked goats and helped his family raise their own beef, pork and turkey.

Feil earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Chico State and after graduating worked in the food industry in San Francisco before deciding to attend culinary school. A mentor recommended New York, and Feil attended the Culinary Institute of America, widely recognized as one of the premier culinary schools in the world.

Feil used his passion for cooking to travel the country, including nearly a decade as a caterer on Maui where he focused on plant-based foods. He also has experience on college campuses including San Diego State and Point Loma Nazarene University.

CSUSM was a perfect match for Feil, who loved spending time with college students, faculty and staff. He was also already familiar with Sodexo, which manages catering at both CSUSM and Point Loma Nazarene, where he worked as a production chef.

Now Feil is busy preparing for the opening of the Campus Way Cafe. He has taken management courses related to menu creation and food costing, while also working with Sodexo and CSUSM Corporation on details related to the cafe—from configuration to tableware to the look and feel of the space .

The café offers space for around 300 people both indoors and outdoors. Supervised by CSUSM Corporation and operated by Sodexo, the café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner five days a week and brunch and dinner on the weekends and is open to students, faculty, staff, guests and the San Marcos community.

CSUSM will also add new restaurants to USU in the fall: QDOBA will go into the current location of Caliente; Hilltop Bistro Grill established at WOW’s current location; and the revamped market will have an expanded offering, including sushi.

Feil brings a wide variety of food to the cafe, which has an all-you-can-eat menu with a rotating menu and specials. There will also be opportunities to host events, gatherings and cooking classes within the facility.

While the cafe’s expanded dining offering will include a grill, deli, and pasta, pizza, and salad stations, Feil is particularly excited about the plant-based options. He noted that college student tastes and priorities have changed since he was at San Diego State a decade ago.

“The diet was different for college students back then,” he said. “They didn’t quite have the knowledge they have now about food. So you see these plant-based ideas are becoming more and more mainstream. More and more people understand the benefits of certain foods.

“The idea, with these students and the latest trends, to create a menu adapted to this atmosphere, with plant-based nutrition, healthy eating that has a smaller footprint than normal, perhaps involving some local farmers in the area, it is exciting.”

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